Ghana ranks 14th in doctor to patients’ ratio in Sub Saharan Africa-Report

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Ghana is ranked 14th in Sub Saharan Africa in terms of number of patients to physician (medical doctor) ratio.

The nation is however ranked 4th in the West African sub region.

According to a World Bank survey from 2015 and 2017, and still being used presently, the ratio is 1000 patient per a doctor.

Mauritius was ranked first, followed by Seychelles in the second position and South Africa in third. In West Africa, Cape Verde is number one but 4th in Sub Sharan Africa, whilst Guinea Bissau is number two but 10th in Sub Saharan Africa.

For nurses and midwives, Ghana placed 9th in terms of 1000 patients to one nurse ratio. But the number of nurses were more than the doctors.

The Gambia was the only country ahead of Ghana in West Africa.

South Africa, Mauritius and Botswana were first, second and third respectively in Sub Saharan African country.

According to the latest World Bank Pulse Africa’s Report, the need for universal health coverage (UHC) has never been greater than now, but Sub Saharan African countries are ranked in the bottom quintile among the global regions. UHC means that all people in a country receive the quality health services they need, while at the same time ensuring that the use of these services is affordable.

The report emphasised that low health services coverage in Africa is driven by many factors, including low population density in many parts of African countries making service delivery relative costly, limited funding, supply bottlenecks and low productivity of health professionals.

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Widespread, sustained community transmission could prove difficult to managed in Sub-Saharan Africa, given the region’s weak health systems, including understaffed medical personnel (doctors, nurses, and mid-wives) and the lack of hospital beds and equipment, which could lead to a high level of deaths. The lack of qualified health workers is quite severe in some cases.

For example, a fragile country like Togo had only 8 doctors and 14 nurses per 100,000 people in 2018—well below the levels recommended by the WHO (100 doctors and 35 nurses), the report stated.

Additionally, geographical disparities are quite large: 64% of health professions are in the capital region.

In contrast, the Zambian population receives basic health services, although coverage is low in rural areas and the quality of health services is generally low across the country.

A survey in 2018 revealed that 437 days are lost each month due to absenteeism and tardiness at public health facilities, and most of the health facilities lacked some of the core equipment (World Bank 2019).

Finally, hospitals may be unequipped in the event of surges of infected people. Although the number of hospital beds per 1,000 people is quite heterogeneous across countries in the region, more than 20 countries have less than one hospital bed per 1,000 people (including Ethiopia, Senegal, Nigeria, Tanzania, Angola, and Ghana).

On average, Southern African countries, like Namibia, Mauritius, and South Africa, have more than 2.5 hospital beds per 1,000 people. Mauritius has a density of hospital beds that is comparable to that of Italy (3.4 per 1,000) and lower than that of China (4.2).

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