The Ethiopian Government And CapacityPlus Lead The Way In Estimating The Cost Of Educating Nurses And Midwives In Africa

Leah McManus and Rebecca Bailey | CapacityPlus | September 1, 2013

In 2011, Ethiopia reported having 29,550 nurses and 2,416 midwives1, or approximately one nurse for every 3,000 people and one midwife for every 34,000 people. In response to this shortage, the Government of Ethiopia has developed an ambitious plan to significantly increase the number of nurses and midwives in the country by 2015—to 41,009 nurses and 8,635 midwives—through the expansion of health science schools, departments, and programs.

Throughout Africa, additional investments combined with more efficient use of scarce resources is needed to scale up the production of new health workers. In 2008, the Global Task Force for Scaling up Education and Training for Health Workers estimated that around $26.4 billion of investments were required to educate and train the projected 1.5 million additional health workers needed in Africa to achieve universal health coverage. In order to inform country-level dialogue on current costs, additional investments needed, and potential economies of scale or efficiency savings, CapacityPlus developed a methodology and instruments to estimate the cost of educating a health professional.