I read yesterday that as of August 2010, there were an estimated 4600 medical personnel in the entire area of Southern Sudan. And that was an optimistic estimate.
Of that population, only 10-20% have 18 months or more of medical training (which would qualify them as doctor, nurse, or midwife). The rest are community health workers (CHWs) who have 9 months training on malaria treatment, respiratory infections, and basic family planning (FP) and reproductive health (RH) counseling,Traditional Birth Attendants (TBAs, sometimes also called “community midwives”) who assist women with pregnancy and delivery and have a 2-4 week training course, nutrition advisors, and EPI vaccinators.
That means that for a population of roughly 10 million, there are between 460-920 doctors, nurses and midwives. That means there is 1 health personnel to every 11,000 – 21,000 people. Realistically, the majority of those practitioners are centered in cities, while 83% of the population is rural.
To compare, in 2000 in the US, there were 2.2 million nurses and 782,000 doctors. US population census was 281 million people, which means the doctor to population ratio was 1 to 358. The nurse to population, 1 to 123. If you put them together, without counting midwives, dentists, and other specifications, that’s 1 doctor or nurse to every 93 people.
1 : 93
1 : 21,000
Imagine how long the waiting lines in your doctors office would be if you had 20,007 more people who might need care vying for your doctor’s attention.