APA Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) The number of professional nurses in Ethiopia is said to be around 20, 000, which is very low compared to the country’s estimated 80 million population.
The Ethiopian Nurses Association said that the number is very poor compared to the needs and Ethiopia’s growing population.
While marking the International Nurses Day-May 12-, the association noted that there is urgent need to increase the number of nurses in the country and deliver the required health facilities across the nation.
This year, the International Nurses Day is celebrated under the theme; “Closing the Gap: Increasing Access and Equity, Nurses Enhancing Access and Equity.”
Though the number of health professionals is very poor compared to the population number and growth in Ethiopia, the government deployed in the last couple of years around 32,000 health extension workers to tackle health related problems in the country.
The number of doctors is also reported not to exceed 3,000 in the country where an Ethiopian doctor is for around 37,000 patients while around 400 patients have one doctor in the UK.
However, the government is currently enrolling over 2,000 university students in medical fields to tackle the problem.
The World Health Organization (WHO), recommends a minimum ratio of 100 nurses for every 100,000 people, but many poor countries hardly come close.
According to available information in the Central African Republic, Liberia and Uganda, for example, the ratio is less than 10 nurses per 100,000 people, as compared to more than 2,000 nurses per 100,000 people in Finland and Norway.
Brain drains of health professionals are among the major problem facing Africa.
Ethiopia is the third populous African country, next to Nigeria and Egypt.