The global shortage of healthcare workers could rise to 10 million by 2030, according to a World Economic Forum (WEF) report published on Tuesday.
The COVID-19 pandemic put extra strain on healthcare systems, disrupted global supply chains of essential products, and pushed overburdened care providers to breaking point, the WEF’s Global Health and Healthcare Strategic Outlook said.
“The threat of violence and burnout are real and is one of the contributors to why doctors are considering other professions,” Kashish Malhotra, a physician at Dayanand Medical College and Hospital in India, said in the report.
The report, prepared in collaboration with L.E.K. Consulting, highlighted the pandemic’s disruptions, such as a 25% drop in coverage of essential health services.
“This resulted in compound impacts on vulnerable populations and minority communities, especially in low- and middle-income countries,” the report said.
The fastest vaccine development in history demonstrated the enormous potential of public-private partnerships and outcomes-based regulation, and case studies in the report show how to harness such efforts for equity.
“The pandemic brought remarkable progress for the development and delivery of medicines,” Shyam Bishen, head of WEF’s health and healthcare section, said at the launch.
“We now need to focus on long-term system change to stop health services deteriorating in the face of economic crises.”
The report, launched ahead of the WEF Annual Meeting 2023 later this month, presents case studies in four areas it says can drive change.
It urged healthcare leaders to allocate funds toward alternative care models and to include more representative clinical trials across low- to middle-income countries.