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Minister: Moroccan Hospitals have a Shortage of Doctors and Nurses

Morocco’s Minister of Health Khalid Ait Taleb addressed challenges associated with health care in an interview with Reuters.

14 Jan 2022

Rabat - In an interview with Reuters, Khalid Ait Taleb, Minister of Health, addressed Morocco’s new approach to health care staff shortages. The government is considering wage increases and tax incentives to attract doctors and foreign investors.

Ait Taleb reported that Moroccan hospitals have an “acute shortage” with only 32,000 doctors and 65,000 nurses operating in the sector. He added that 'that is difficult to rapidly train [doctors] because only 1,200 doctors graduate a year.'

The government has several plans to solve the shortage. They aim to raise wages to keep current health professionals in the public sector and attract more Moroccan doctors living abroad. Health care officials serving under-staffed “medical deserts” will receive state aid or tax incentives, confirmed the minister.

Additionally, the Moroccan government’s removal of legal restrictions to investment seeks to attract and encourage foreign investors interested in the health care system.

Regarding the COVID-19 situation, the minister stated, 'It is unlikely that we go as far as restoring a full lockdown. However, further tightening of restrictive measures depends on the evolution of the pandemic.'

While Morocco works on flattening the COVID-19 curve, there are continuous complaints about public disrespect of preventive measures. As health officials warn about the seriousness of the third COVID-19 wave, the number of national cases keeps skyrocketing.

In 2021, Morocco’s Sothema pharmaceutical company agreed with China’s Sinopharm to produce coronavirus vaccines in Morocco for local use and exportation to African countries. The agreement aims to secure the country’s supply of vaccines.

Initially, Moroccan factories will only 'fill and finish' vaccines. However, they “will [have to] buy licenses to manufacture the vaccine locally and launch research and development,” stated Ait Taleb. The production schedule begins in 2022 following the testing of manufacturing facilities.

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