On the student hub, we have been discussing the global shortage of doctors. There is a serious doctor shortage in the world now. According to www.medicaleconomics.com, studies have shown that "Study estimates 12.8 million doctors worldwide, and more are needed." Studies have also shown that "An estimated 6.4 million physicians are needed in 132 countries across the globe to meet goals for universal health coverage (UHC) across the globe".
We talked about the causes of doctor shortages. What are some of these causes?
1.) Overwork: Due to the covid-19 pandemic, more doctors have been increasingly stressed and overworked. This makes the majority of doctors retire early or leave their jobs. They are usually exhausted from taking care of too many patients. According to www.beckersacs.com, amidst the covid-19 pandemic, "Twenty-two percent of physicians are considering early retirement because of overwork, Sixteen percent of physicians are looking for another employer because of overwork and Twelve percent of physicians are looking for another career because of overwork"
3.) Cost of study period: Another contributing factor, is the cost of study to become a doctor. In many places, the cost of the study is high. In my home country, Nigeria, there is a university where 3.5 million nairas per annum is required if one is to study medicine and in my country, there are hardly any scholarship programs for students as they too are expensive. Take, for example, the SAT exams. In the US, the exam could be $90 but in Nigeria, it could be up to 90,000 naira. Things such as these pose a disadvantage to poor people as they lack the resources. This is so for many people in the world. I want to know. What is the highest tuition fee for medicine in your home country? Are scholarship opportunities readily available in your country?
4.) Insufficient salaries: Doctors nowadays are not paid enough for all the work and effort they put in. Doctors have often had to work overtime and the coming of the covid-19 pandemic has not made the situation any better. In so many countries in the world, doctors are usually paid very low salaries and this discourages them from carrying on the profession. This can also discourage potential doctors from becoming doctors because they see it as they are not paid enough for all the skills acquired, effort, and time put into work and this is true. They deserve to be paid better in order to encourage them to still be doctors. In my country, Nigeria, there was once a case of a doctor that was paid as low as 30,000 nairas. This is not encouraging for doctors. I want to know. Are doctors paid well in your country?
What other factor do you think contributes to the shortage of doctors globally?
Here are solutions, I think will remedy this problem. Some of the solutions are:
1.) Doctors should work with robots: To reduce the rate at which doctors are overworked, they should be more application of technology in the healthcare sector. Robots can be trained to perform certain medical functions to reduce the workload of doctors. People do not fully trust robots as they have no emotion and might not be able to understand the patient as a human would and people are scared that robots will one day malfunction and make a mistake costing the life of someone but at the same time, due to the shortage, doctors are overworked, doctors should be made to work alongside doctors to perform menial tasks in order to reduce the workload of doctors. This is a practical and applicable solution to the problem of doctors being overworked and I think it might work. What do you think? Is it a good idea to make robots work alongside doctors?
2.) Reducing the cost of study: The cost of study to be honest is very high and this discourages people from studying medicine as most do not have the resources to study medicine. In Nigeria, studying medicine is very expensive and this is not encouraging for people who want to study medicine. I know this because I once wanted to be a doctor and I made my research. The cost of studying medicine needs to be reduced so that more people will be trained to be doctors. This will help to reduce the shortage. What do you think? Is this a good idea?
3.) Increasing the salaries of doctors: The salaries of doctors should be increased in order to encourage people to work. Doing this will encourage more people to remain in the profession. Most times, what doctors are paid are stipends compared to the effort they put into their work, and really they need more encouragement. They need to be encouraged more. This is a statement from a doctor, where I live " I'm really tired of this job. I put so much work into this work but I barely earn enough to meet my needs." We really need to be more encouraging to doctors. Do doctors have good salaries where you live?
What other things do you think could remedy the problem of doctor shortages? Feel free to write down what you think in the comment section below.