|Morocco is in dire need of 32,387 medical doctors and 64,774 nurses and other medical practitioners so that its health sector can effectively operate, a new report by the country’s health ministry revealed / Photo by: Gary Ross via Wikimedia Commons|
Morocco is in dire need of 32,387 medical doctors and 64,774 nurses and other medical practitioners so that its health sector can effectively operate, a new report by the country’s health ministry revealed.
A Deficit in Medical Personnel
The North African country’s new Minister for Health Khalid Ait Taleb indicated in the report that there is a lack of hospital equipment and personnel in the country, emphasizing a concerning “deficit in the medical personnel.” There is an urgent need to hire 97,161 medical personnel, he said via Morocco World News.
To solve the said deficit, the health ministry is planning to recruit about 62,000 new employees, which will be composed of 50,000 medical technicians and nurses and 12,000 more doctors as part of its first step. However, due to budget constraints, the total budget of the ministry for the 2020 fiscal year is only at 18.68 billion dirham. This means that their recruit would be down only to 4,000 new medical personnel.
Taleb himself acknowledged that the number is not close to the supposed target they need to address the persisting issue of the health sector. Nevertheless, he said that there will be additional plans to be taken to gradually solve public health concerns. For their medium- and short-term goals, they wanted to find ways to reduce the equipment and personnel deficit. That way, it will help the ailing health sector of the country.
|The North African country’s new Minister for Health Khalid Ait Taleb indicated in the report that there is a lack of hospital equipment and personnel in the country / Photo by: Max Pixel|
Plan to Improve the Health Sector
As part of the health ministry’s plan to improve the country’s health sector, it will use its “limited” budget in the best ways possible. For instance, in addressing concerns about equipment deficit, they will begin the construction projects of about 28 new hospitals in the country. They will also give more focus to regions and remote or rural areas because the medical shortage can be more felt there than in urban areas.
It is also a part of the health sector’s agenda to invest in renovation, extension, and maintenance works in areas where existing equipment does not meet the minimum requirements to serve the number of patients. These areas include Oujda and Rabat. Morocco World News added that there is also a lack of hospital beds for patients in these regions.
Upgrading Emergency Services
The ministry report highlights the plan to modernize and upgrade emergency services at various hospitals in the Kingdom of Morocco. Some of the projects mentioned are the extension of hospital parking areas and the rehabilitation of emergency medical services in the regions of Laayoune-Sakia El Hamra and Souss-Massa. It added that although the ministry’s 2020 budget will increase by 14.5% compared to its 2019 budget, the numerous challenges that the department will have to face suggest that the budget will only able to address about a quarter of those concerns. Also, maintenance constraints and employee’s wages signify that a limited portion of the health ministry’s budget can be allotted to investment in construction, renovation, and building. With its estimated 18 billion dirham budget, only 3.35 billion will go to investment. The bulk or 15.33 billion will be intended for operational or working budget, including the 10.9 billion meant for employees’ wages.
|The ministry report highlights the plan to modernize and upgrade emergency services at various hospitals in the Kingdom of Morocco / Photo by: Thomas J. Doscher via Wikimedia Commons|
Association Between Doctor Numbers and Patient Outcomes
The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, an intergovernmental economic organization with 36 member countries founded to stimulate economic progress and world trade, has recently shared some of the countries with a high number of practicing doctors that provide direct care to patients. These countries include Austria with 5.2 doctors per 1,000 inhabitants, Norway (4.8), Lithuania (4.6), Switzerland (4.3), Germany (4.3), Sweden (4.1), Russia (4.0), Denmark (4.0), and Italy (4.0).
In terms of doctors, OECD included specialists, such as obstetricians and gynecologists, pediatricians, medical specialists, surgical specialists, and psychiatrists. A good number of doctors per 1,000 population mean a change in the work balance between administration and management. An increase in the physician supply can influence the patient lifestyle, thus, impacts felt on both the health and workforce outcomes. This is based on a previous study that appeared in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine. The research was conducted by Karen Bloor from the University of York’s Department of Health Sciences and their team.
Bloor and colleagues emphasized that a higher professional and patient ratio has also been linked with the reduction of failure-to-rescue events, mortality, complications, and hospital readmissions. It also means lower infant mortality and all-cause mortality.
In terms of the country’s healthcare index provided by internet database about the cost of living Numbeo, it shows that Morrocco ranks only 89th. This means there is low satisfaction with cost, friendliness, and speed in completing medical examinations in the country. Countries with a high healthcare index are Taiwan (86.89), South Korea (83.59), Japan (80.48), Austria (79.46), and Denmark (79.22). Morocco’s healthcare index in 2019 mid-year was only 39.35.
Morocco’s health ministry's suggestion to increase the supply of doctors and other medical staff in the hope of improving patient outcomes makes sense. The same can be said about their attention to the indirect impact of the issue on health.