Norway has most doctors and nurses per capita

High ratio may be related to effective coronavirus response

Photo: Heiko Junge / NTB scanpix
Norway has one of the most advanced and accessible health-care systems in the world.


Data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) on the number of doctors and nurses working show Norway to have the highest per capita number of medics of all member countries.

The World Health Organization (WHO) data shows that Norway had 29.16 medical doctors per 10,000 people in 2018.

OECD figures have Norway’s numbers at 4.82 doctors per 1,000 people in 2018 (the most recent year for available data) and 17.81 nurses per 1,000 people in the same year.

Combining the two numbers gives Norway the highest per capita number of doctors and nurses of any OECD member country.

The information may be related to the ability of countries to respond effectively to COVID-19, the OECD has noted.

According to the WHO, 40% of its member countries have fewer than 10 medical doctors per 100,000 people.

The organization has also said that countries with the highest relative need have a smaller health work force. The entire continent of Africa has 22% of the global burden of the disease but access to only 3% of the world’s health workers.

“In countries with fewer doctors and nurses per population, the existing work force will be even more stretched in their attempts to address the additional demand for care arising from the epidemic,” the OECD reports.

As of Aug. 24, 10,374 people had tested positive for coronavirus in Norway since the beginning of the epidemic there, with a total 630,903 tests conducted as of Aug. 23. A total of 264 deaths from the virus had been registered.

The Norwegian Institute for Public Health has estimated that 91% of the 10,055 people who have tested positive for COVID-19 as of Aug. 19 had recovered.

This article first appeared in The Local.

This article originally appeared in the Sept. 4, 2020, issue of The Norwegian American.

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The Norwegian American is North America's oldest and only Norwegian newspaper, published since May 17, 1889.