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Worldwide Nursing Shortage – 10 Countries with a Nursing Shortage Crisis

Half of the world does not have an adequate number of nurses. Throughout the globe, we are experiencing an international nursing shortage. According to the World Health Organization, 48% of the member states have less than 3 nurses per 1,000 people. Even worse, 27% of the world have less than 1. By comparison, the United States has 10 nurses per 1,000 people. Are you ready to take your nursing career in a new direction? You can work abroad and provide needed nursing services. Below is a list of the top 10 countries in need of nurses according to the World Health Organization.

Worldwide Nursing Shortage

Worldwide Nursing Shortage #10 – Liberia

At the center of the Ebola epidemic, Liberia’s healthcare system is lacking in many ways. Liberia has 350-400 hospital beds, far below the WHO recommendation of 2000. For perspective, at the peak of the crisis, Liberia was receiving 50-70 new cases per day. Current estimates suggest there are only .266 nurses per 1000 people.

Worldwide Nursing Shortage #9 – Central African Republic

The Central African Republic (CAR) is a high priority for humanitarian group Doctor’s Without Borders. Located in central Africa, CAR has experienced a prolonged health crisis. Conflict in the region has destroyed 70% of the medical facilities. There is a widespread shortage of healthcare workers, with only .252 nurses per 1000 people. People are afraid to travel, and medical supplies are scarce.

Worldwide Nursing Shortage #8 – Ethiopia

In 2011, Ethiopia reported having 29,550 nurses and 2,416 midwives. Even worse, current reports show that only 39% of nurses intend to stay in the profession. WHO data shows only .252 nurses per 1000 people. To address the nursing shortage, the Ethiopian government has created an ambitious plan to modernize its health science education system.

Worldwide Nursing Shortage #7 – Madagascar

Labor shortages and poverty are causing widescale problems for Madagascar. An island off of the eastern coast of Africa, Madagascar has insufficient systems to educate nurses. There are no standards for quality improvement, assessment, or regulation. Data from WHO suggests that there are only .218 nurses per 1000 people.

Worldwide Nursing Shortage #6 -Bangladesh

Bangladesh has a severe shortage of healthcare workers. Unfortunately, data on this country is sparse. Based off of current estimates, there are .213 nurses per 1000 people. The ratio oof nurses to doctors is only .4, far below the WHO recommendation of 3. Nearly 95% of all healthcare providers are working in urban areas.

Worldwide Nursing Shortage #5 – Burundi

Burundi is one of the world poorest countries and has experienced continuous civil conflicts. Located in sub-Saharan Africa, Burundi is an epicenter of refugee migration. Current WHO estimates indicate that there are .176 nurses per 1000 people. Moreover, there is currently one practicing psychiatrist in the country. The country is currently training psychiatric nurses to offset the deficit of mental health services.

Worldwide Nursing Shortage #4 – Chile

Throughout the twentieth century, Chile had been a leading health system innovator in Latin America. In the 1950’s, Chile established a public healthcare system. As democracy returned the country, the public healthcare system did not undergo necessary modernization. As a result, the public and private systems are now lacking. Chile currently has .145 nurses per 1000 people. Healthcare workers reside in the urban areas, leaving much of the population underserved.

Worldwide Nursing Shortage #3 – Niger

Throughout the recent Ebola outbreak, a lack of qualified nurses was a major factor threatening the containment effort. Recent reports estimate only 30,000 doctors and 150,000 nurses in the entire country. WHO estimates there are .14 nurses per 1000 people. To summarize, there are just too many people and too few healthcare workers. It is not unusual for patients to wake up at the crack of dawn to establish an early place in line.

Worldwide Nursing Shortage #2 – Haiti

Natural disasters have wreaked havoc on Haiti in recent years. The 2010 earthquake left much of Haiti in ruins. Currently, there are only .101 nurses per 1000 people. Tragically, the earthquake also destroyed a nursing school full of 100 nursing students. At the moment, the ratio in the ICU is 1 nurse per 18 patients. Approximately, nine times the ratio allowed in the United States.

Worldwide Nursing Shortage #1 – Somalia

With a frightening .078 nurses per 1000, Somalia has the greatest need for nurses in the world. Located on the eastern border of Africa, Somalian healthcare underperforms in many facets. Two-thirds of the native healthcare providers have fled the country. To make things worse, Somalia is also experiencing severe drought and famine.


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