Nurses and midwives (per 1,000 people)

Definition: Nurses and midwives include professional nurses, professional midwives, auxiliary nurses, auxiliary midwives, enrolled nurses, enrolled midwives and other associated personnel, such as dental nurses and primary care nurses.

Description: The map below shows how Nurses and midwives (per 1,000 people) varies by country. The shade of the country corresponds to the magnitude of the indicator. The darker the shade, the higher the value. The country with the highest value in the world is Switzerland, with a value of 17.36. The country with the lowest value in the world is Afghanistan, with a value of 0.07.

Source: World Health Organization's Global Health Workforce Statistics, OECD, supplemented by country data.

See also: Country ranking, Time series comparison

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Development Relevance: The WHO estimates that at least 2.5 physicians, nurses, and midwives per 1,000 people are needed to provide adequate coverage with primary care interventions associated with achieving the Millennium Development Goals (WHO, World Health Report 2006).

Limitations and Exceptions: The WHO compiles data from household and labor force surveys, censuses, and administrative records. Data comparability is limited by differences in definitions and training of medical personnel varies. In addition, human resources tend to be concentrated in urban areas, so that average densities do not provide a full picture of health personnel available to the entire population.

Statistical Concept and Methodology: Health systems - the combined arrangements of institutions and actions whose primary purpose is to promote, restore, or maintain health (World Health Organization, World Health Report 2000) - are increasingly being recognized as key to combating disease and improving the health status of populations. The World Bank's Healthy Development: Strategy for Health, Nutrition, and Population Results emphasizes the need to strengthen health systems, which are weak in many countries, in order to increase the effectiveness of programs aimed at reducing specific diseases and further reduce morbidity and mortality. To evaluate health systems, the World Health Organization (WHO) has recommended that key components - such as financing, service delivery, workforce, governance, and information - be monitored using several key indicators. The data are a subset of the key indicators. Monitoring health systems allows the effectiveness, efficiency, and equity of different health system models to be compared. Health system data also help identify weaknesses and strengths and areas that need investment, such as additional health facilities, better health information systems, or better trained human resources. Data on health worker (physicians, nurses and midwives, and community health workers) density show the availability of medical personnel.

Aggregation method: Weighted average

Periodicity: Annual