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Maybe your doctor’s waiting room isn’t so bad after all…

October 17, 2007

People often complain about how long it takes to get in to see a doctor for non-emergency care, or how long they wait once they get to the doctor’s office. These are often valid complaints, and there is always room for improvement. However, there is also always room for a little perspective. This map (from the great Strange Maps Blog) shows the countries of the world represented by doctors per capita:

(You can see the whole world map at the Strange Maps post, it’s too big to repost here).

True, this map does not make any claims about the quality of medical care, only its relative availability. I don’t think many people would argue that there is better care in Turkmenistan than in the US, even though there are more doctors per capita there. Not surprisingly, the 10 countries with the fewest doctors per capita are all in Africa.  Now, I am no health policy expert, but I would guess that “access to a doctor” plays a big part in the overall state of health care in a country.

I am posting this for my brother, who incidentally, is a doctor working in a clinic in rural Tanzania right now. Tanzania has the fewest doctors per capita (50,000 for each person), so he and his colleagues are badly needed over there.

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