The worldwide shortage of health workers is most severe in the poorest countries with the greatest burden of disease. Currently there are 2.4 million too few doctors, nurses and midwives to provide essential primary care. The problem is most severe in Sub-Saharan Africa. Countries like Mozambique have only one doctor and three nurses for every 10,000 people. It's as if the city of Seattle, where I live, had only 17 doctors. In rural areas, it's not uncommon for a hospital that serves a district of 100,000 or more to be staffed by a single doctor.
Poor countries also subsidize wealthier nations when their highly trained doctors and nurses emigrate because of low salaries and poor working conditions in their home countries. Solving the problems of the "brain drain" and shortage of health care workers in countries devastated by epidemics of HIV, malaria and tuberculosis is critical if we are to achieve further advances in global health and reach the Millennium Development Goals.
These photos were mostly taken while working with Health Alliance International in Mozamabique in 2010. www.healthallianceinternational.org
I am a family practice doctor and Director of New Initiatves at Health Alliance International. Photography is a way to practice art consistent with my social activist values. When practiced well, documentary photography has the power to sharpen reality by exposing us to what otherwise might be missed or misrepresented and connecting us deeply to others living lives disparate from our own.
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These photos were mostly taken in 2010 while I was working in Mozambique with Health Alliance International, a global health non-profit that works to improve working conditions for health workers in the public health system and improve the access to and quality of care for all Mozambicans. www.healthallianceinternational.org
Wendy Johnson, MD, MPH
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Health Alliance International