These countries have the most doctors and nurses


(Credit: Unsplash)

This article is brought to you thanks to the collaboration of The European Sting with the World Economic Forum.

Author: Andy Dunn, Writer, Formative Content

  • Norway tops the list of OECD countries that have the most doctors and nurses.
  • Globally, 40% of WHO member states have fewer than 10 medical doctors per 10,000 people.
  • The African region shoulders over 22% of the global burden of disease, but has access to only 3% of health workers.

How countries have responded to COVID-19 has varied across the globe. What has also varied is people’s access to healthcare if they do become unwell.

But now new data clearly illustrates the difference in medical staff per capita of populations of some member countries of the Organization for Economic Co-operation & Development (OECD).


Number of medical doctors and nurses.
Number of medical doctors and nurses.
Image: OECD

The blue part of each column shows the number of doctors per 1,000 inhabitants and the red the number of nurses. As the OECD points out, countries with high numbers of medical staff, such as Norway, Switzerland and Germany, may have a greater capacity to respond effectively to COVID-19.

But the shortage of doctors worldwide, and particularly in developing countries, is backed up by a separate interactive from the World Health Organization (WHO).

medical doctors per 10,000
A deficit of doctors?
Image: WHO

The WHO says that over 40% of its member states report having fewer than 10 medical doctors per 10,000 people.

It adds that countries with the lowest relative need have the highest numbers of health workers, while those countries with the greatest need must make do with a much smaller health workforce. The African region shoulders over 22% of the global burden of disease, but has access to only 3% of health workers and less than 1% of the world’s financial resources.

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