Number of Doctors in Africa


To determine the number of doctors in Africa and South Africa.

Early Findings

While we were able to extrapolate the number of doctors in Africa and South Africa, the information was dated back to 2015, which is the latest reported by most health organizations such as the World Bank, the OECD, and the WHO.
  • According to data from the WHO, there is 1 doctor for every 5,000 people in Africa in 2015.
  • The population in Africa in 2020 amounted to 1,331,396,559 people. If we were to use the above ratio, we can estimate that there are about 266,279 doctors in all of Africa (1,331,396,559 / 5,000).
  • According to the WHO, the sub-Saharan region of Africa has the least amount of doctors, at 0.2 per 1,000 people in 2015. As the sub-Saharan part of Africa is the most populated, at 1.08 billion people, the shortage of doctors is a big problem in the region.
  • We estimated that there are 215,662 doctors in sub-Saharan Africa (1,078,310,000 * 0.2 / 1,000).
  • In comparison, the North Africa and the Middle East region had an average of 1.3 doctors per 1,000 people.
  • South Africa had 0.9 doctors per 1,000 in 2017, according to data from the WHO. Considering that the country has a population of 57,779,622 in 2018, the total number of doctors in the country amount to 52,002 (57,779,622 * 0.9 / 1,000), which represents almost 1/5th of the total doctor population in Africa.

Proposed next steps:

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As our initial research focused on the number of doctors in Africa and South Africa, we propose to move the project forward by looking for 3-5 challenges faced in the two regions for the increase in the doctor population (in Africa and South Africa). For each challenge, we will explain what the challenge is and provide 2-3 statistics that support it. We will also briefly discuss what is being done to combat the challenge. This will best help in understanding why people do not want to become doctors in Africa.
We could also look for 3-4 programs that are being implemented in support of the shortage in doctors in Africa. For each program, we will explain what the initiative is, who ti is sponsored by, and whether there have been any results.