Estimates of health care professional shortages in sub-Saharan Africa by 2015

Health Aff (Millwood). Sep-Oct 2009;28(5):w849-62. doi: 10.1377/hlthaff.28.5.w849. Epub 2009 Aug 6.


This paper uses a forecasting model to estimate the need for, supply of, and shortage of doctors, nurses, and midwives in thirty-nine African countries for 2015, the target date of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals. We forecast that thirty-one countries will experience needs-based shortages of doctors, nurses, and midwives, totaling approximately 800,000 health professionals. We estimate the additional annual wage bill required to eliminate the shortage at about $2.6 billion (2007 $US)-more than 2.5 times current wage-bill projections for 2015. We illustrate how changes in workforce mix can reduce this cost, and we discuss policy implications of our results.

MeSH terms

  • Africa South of the Sahara
  • Forecasting / methods
  • Health Policy*
  • Health Services Needs and Demand*
  • Health Workforce / statistics & numerical data
  • Health Workforce / trends*
  • Humans
  • Salaries and Fringe Benefits / statistics & numerical data