“Morocco’s Health System Shortage: Data and Solutions for a Better Future”

2023-05-30 06:57:03

Data from the Ministry of Health shows 2,178 primary health care facilities in the public, namely 869 urban health centers and 1,309 rural health centers.

Treatment offer: The Ministry of Health and Social Protection has just published a new health map which shows that the health system is still facing a major shortage of health professionals. Morocco has a total of 28,892 doctors in the public and private sectors in 2022 against 27,881 in 2021.

The new health map which details the care offer during the year 2022 reveals that the medical profession in the public amounts to 14,359 including 3,569 general practitioners, 10,193 specialists, 414 dentists and 183 pharmacists. There is a slight improvement compared to the year 2021 when there were 13,682 doctors (3,494 general practitioners, 9,402 specialists, 596 dentists and 190 pharmacists). In the private sector, there are a total of 14,533 doctors, namely 5,472 general practitioners and 9,061 specialist doctors. In 2021, their number was 14,199 (5,414 general practitioners and 8,785 specialist doctors). Thus, Morocco has a total of 28,892 doctors in the public and private sectors in 2022 against 27,881 in 2021. For a population estimated at 37 million inhabitants, the ratio is 7.8 doctors per 10,000 inhabitants, while the standard of l he World Health Organization (WHO) is 15.3 doctors per 10,000 inhabitants. For its part, the paramedical corps in the public numbers 37,376, including 16,221 general-purpose nurses and 6,216 midwives. In 2021, their number was 35,789.

Only 17 cancer surgeons and 2 geriatricians in the public

The breakdown by region shows that medical health professionals in the public sector are mainly concentrated in the Casablanca-Settat region where their number stands at 3,400. Then come the regions of Fez-Meknes (2,297), Marrakech-Safi (2,174), Rabat-Salé-Kenitra (1,900), Tangier-Tetouan-Al Hoceima (1,582), Oriental (1,166), Beni Mellal-Khénifra ( 562) and Souss-Massa (527). Doctors are much less present in the other regions: Drâa-Tafilalet (330), Laâyoune-Sakia El Hamra (184), Guelmim-Oued Noun (165) and Dakhla-Oued Eddahab (72). In addition, the new health map of the Ministry of Health shows a crucial lack of specialist doctors in the public. Indeed, in 2022, the country has only 634 pediatricians in the public, 611 gynecologists, 567 radiologists, 565 anesthetists-resuscitators, 462 traumatologists, 458 surgeons, 450 ophthalmologists, 428 cardiologists, 414 dental surgeons, 355 gastroenterologists, 315 nephrologists, 284 pediatric surgeons, 272 pneumologists, 269 psychiatrists, 256 dermatologists, 243 radiotherapists, 242 urologists, 213 oncologists and 208 rheumatologists. In some specialties, they are very few. This is particularly the case for neurosurgery, where there are only 200 doctors, 179 internal doctors, cardiovascular surgery (93 doctors), hematology (82), child psychiatry (59), medical resuscitation (56), nuclear medicine (54), medical legal (32), genetics (30), immunology (25), cancer surgery (17), anatomy (5). It should be noted that Morocco has only 2 geriatricians and 2 doctors in biophysics in the public.

The medical profession in the public stands at 14,359 in 2022. (DR)

159 hospitals with a capacity of 25,889 beds

With regard to public infrastructure, data from the Ministry of Health show 2,178 public primary health care establishments, namely 869 urban health centers and 1,309 rural health centers. As for hospitals, there are 159 hospitals across the country with a capacity of 25,889 beds. Morocco has only 11 psychiatric hospitals with a capacity of 1,512 beds. It is also important to mention that there are only 131 hemodialysis centers for patients in the public with a total number of 2,739 dialysis machines. In addition to the lack of infrastructure, there is a lack of equipment, particularly in terms of biomedical equipment and high-tech installations. In the public, 123 mammography units, 26 MRIs, 139 scanners, 113 4D echo-Dopplers, radiological installation for standard examinations (339), 25 panoramic radiology units, bone densitometry (13), 1 PET-SAN (Position Emission Tonography coupled to a scanner).

Private: Nearly 11,000 doctors concentrated in two regions

The majority of private doctors are concentrated in 4 regions, namely Casablanca-Settat (5,192), Rabat-Salé-Kenitra (2,990), Marrakech-Safi (1,459) and Fez-Meknes (1,303). In detail, Casablanca-Anfa has 1,858 doctors, Rabat (1,363), Marrakech (941) and Fez (691). As for the other regions, there are 1,270 doctors in the region of Tangier-Tétouan-Al Hoceima, Souss-Massa (753), Oriental (687), Béni Mellal-Khénifra (521), Drâa-Tafilalet (189), Laayoune-Sakia El Hamra (100), Guelmim-Oued Noun (48) and Dakhla-Oued Eddahab (21).
In terms of infrastructure, there are 408 clinics in 2022 with a capacity of 14,559 beds. The Casablanca-Settat region alone concentrates 126 clinics, Rabat-Salé-Kénitra (66 clinics), Marrakech-Safi (47), Fès-Meknes (44), Tangier-Tétouan-Al Hoceima (41), Béni Mellal- Khénifra (28), Oriental (25), Souss-Massa (25), Draâ-Tafilalet (4), Guelmim-Oued Noun (1) and Laâyoune-Sakia El Hamra (1).
It should also be noted that there are 12,240 medical consultation offices in the private sector. The private sector also has 320 radiology practices, 667 laboratory practices, 4,460 dental surgery practices, 963 physiotherapy centers, 241 hemodialysis centers, and 9,776 pharmacies.

Health map – Situation of health care provision in 2022.

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24 health professionals per 10,000 inhabitants in 2025


Morocco has been facing a shortage of doctors for several years, which is getting worse every year with the massive departure of doctors abroad. According to official figures, about 700 of the 1,400 trained annually in medical faculties leave Morocco to settle in Europe and Canada.

To remedy this situation, a framework agreement, with a budget of 3 billion DH, was signed on July 25, 2022 between the ministers of health and higher education and the minister delegated to the budget.

This provides for an increase in the number of health professionals to 68,000 in 2022 and to more than 90,000 by 2025. It is also planned to reach the threshold of 24 health professionals per 10,000 inhabitants in 2025, then 45 by 2030. With the generalization of medical coverage, a major overhaul of the health system is essential. This must relate to the improvement of the supply of care, the establishment of an innovative and incentive policy in terms of human resources. Remember that Morocco needs 32,522 doctors and 65,000 nurses while only 1,200 new doctors graduate each year.


Creation of 450 health centers

The Minister of Health and Social Protection, Khalid Ait Taleb, announced during a meeting held last April devoted to monitoring the implementation of the health system reform project, the forthcoming completion of the first part of the program to upgrade health centres, involving 450 centres. “The University Hospital Centers (CHU) are being rehabilitated and new centers will be created, particularly in the Drâa-Tafilalet, Guelmim-Oued Noun and Béni Mellal-Khénifra regions,” said Ait Taleb.

Start of studies in three new faculties of medicine

Studies in the Faculties of Medicine and Pharmacy of Errachidia, Beni Mellal and Guelmim will begin at the start of the next academic year, announced the Minister of Higher Education, Abdellatif Miraoui. Most of the students who will integrate these faculties will have to start their tasks, after obtaining their diplomas, in the hospitals belonging to their territories, he underlined.

Establishment of Territorial Health Groups

The 2022-2025 period will see the new overhaul of the health system with the establishment of Territorial Health Groups (GST). These entities enjoy the status of autonomous public establishment. These establishments will bring together the supply of inpatient and outpatient care under the same governance body at the level of each region.

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