Malawi has the highest number of patients per doctor standing at 88,321 to one, a trend the Ministry of Health hopes will be reversed if the country continues graduating physicians.
Statistics compiled by the Economist, an online magazine, puts Malawi on number one on the list of countries with the highest patient to doctor ratio followed by Congo at 71,642 and on third position is Tanzania whose ratio is at 45,012 to one doctor.
Commenting on the statistics which health commentators have described as a threat to citizen’s health status, Ministry of Heath Public Relations Officer, Henry Chimbali, while agreeing with the Economiststatistics, expressed worry over the trend saying issues of health have greatly been affected.
“It is true, the doctor to patient ratio in Malawi is very high and we are hopeful that as the number of doctors graduating from College of Medicine (COM) increases, the ratio will continue to reduce,” he said.
Chimbali said Government is trying to absorb most of the graduates from COM to increase the number of doctors against patients.
Meanwhile, the Ministry has dismissed reports that it has fired all month to month medical personnel who were called to duty from retirement to beef up staff in the country’s hospitals .
Chimbali said the Ministry currently has no plans of getting rid of the recalled staff adding that heath personnel numbers still remain drastically low.
He said: “Our human resource department has not acted in any way towards that direction. You must be aware that the health sector continues to struggle to improve the numbers for healthcare workers and any opportunity that is there to improve these numbers will be taken up.”
The Economist has rated Italy the lowest country with the doctor patient ratio standing at 165 to one followed by Cuba rated at 170 and then United States of America at 188.