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Estimates of Sub-Saharan Africa Health Care Professional Shortages in 2015

Scheffler, R.M., C.B. Mahoney, B.D. Fulton, M.R. Dal Poz, and A.S. Preker. “Estimates of SubSaharan Africa Health Care Professional Shortages in 2015: What Can Be Done at What Cost.” Health Affairs 6:5 (August 2009): 849-862. 


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.

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