Bajamal on World Health Day: Yemen is suffering critical shortage of doctors and health facilities [Archives:2006/937/Local News]

April 13 2006

By:Amel Al-Ariqi
SANA'A, April 8 ) Prime Minister Abdulkader Bajamal said Yemen is suffering a critical shortage of doctors and health facilities.

Attending World Health Day celebrations arranged by the Ministry of Health and Population Ministry in association with the World Health Organization (WHO), Bajamal said he has statistics revealing the critical shortage of doctors and health institutions in Yemen. He insisted that such problem must be solved, as Yemenis need qualified personnel who can deal with diseases and epidemics that “don't recognize geographical boundaries and spread without permission.”

Bajamal also referred to the importance of promoting management in medical foundations. “Reforming and developing management in medical and health institutions is the main task for the Health and Population Minister in this stage,” he noted. He emphasized the importance of placing pharmacies and drug management under highly intensive monitoring.

He stressed that such monitoring must be conducted in private hospitals and private medical colleges. “We (the government) never ever accept the existence of private hospitals or colleges that do not follow legal technical and professional standards, restraints and disciplines to prevent expected risks that threaten citizens, as well as the reputation of this humanitarian job.” Bajamal pointed out that Yemen's government will direct the health sector according to the system in Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states.

WHO representative Dr. Hashem Zeen said this year's World Health Day is of a particular nature, as it addresses the health workforce. “There can be no doubt that there is a growing health workforce crisis in many parts of the world. The global population is rising, but the number of health workers is stagnating or even falling.”

He continued, “WHO estimates the current global health workforce to be around 59 million women and men. There are 39.5 million health service providers and more than 19.5 million management and support workers. It is estimated that there is a global shortage of more than four million doctors, nurses, midwives, pharmacists, dentists, technicians and support workers.”

WHO statistics estimate that at least 1.3 billion people worldwide lack access to the most basic healthcare, often because there is no health worker. The shortage is global, but the burden is greatest in countries overwhelmed by poverty and disease where health workers are needed most.

Yemen is among 57 countries experiencing serious health worker shortages. The 2003-2004 annual health statistical report estimated that there are two physicians for every 10,000 people, whereas there are five nurses for every 10,000 people.