Pareto’s Principle, the 80/20 Rule applies to the distribution of medical manpower in the world too. Eighty percent of the medical manpower is available to 20% of the population in the developed world. This disparity between a country’s population and the number of qualified medical professionals that is available to take care of the sick and ailing leads to great difficulty in addressing the international disease burden. The following facts reaffirm our statement:
  • Every year, about 1 million new doctors, nurses, midwives, and public health professionals are trained in the world
  • There are, at present, 2,420 medical colleges in the world and there are 467 departments of public health or colleges
  • Only four countries in the world have more than 150 medical schools each —China, India, Brazil and USA
  • 36 countries in the world have no medical colleges at all and 26 countries in sub-Saharan Africa have one or no medical colleges
  • In 2014, India had 381 recognized medical colleges and trained 50,078 medical students
  • The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates a shortage of 4.3 million physicians, nurses and other health workers, especially in many developing countries
  • WHO says there are 10 to 12 million doctors in the world. In 2004, there were 7.7 million physicians working around the world and the largest number was from China
  • The ‘World Health Statistics Report‘ (2011) by WHO reveals that there were 19.3 million nurses and midwives in the world with USA having almost 3 million nurses
  • The Philippines is the largest exporter of nurses in the world, supplying 25% of all overseas nurses
  • Most developing nations have shortage of physicians and nurses due to the lack of medical colleges, teachers and migration of doctors and nurses to other countries. In the US, it is estimated that 25% doctors are of foreign origin.


1. Mitchell, G. J. (2003). Nursing shortage or nursing famine: Looking beyond numbers? [Electronic Version]. Nursing Science Quarterly, 16(3), 219-24. Retrieved October 12, 2006 from Pubmed (12876879).



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