Midwives and nurses are as good as docs – and sometimes better, WHO finds
Midwives, nurse practitioners, physician assistants and other non-doctors do as good a job as MDs in the care they deliver — and patients often like them better, a World Health Organization team reported on Thursday.
These non-physicians are especially effective in delivering babies, taking care of people infected with the AIDS virus, and helping people care for chronic diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure, the team reported in a WHO bulletin.
The findings extend from the poorest nations to the United States and Europe, they said. While some physician groups have resisted wider use of such professionals, they should embrace them because they are often less expensive to deploy and are far more willing to work in rural areas, the WHO experts said.
“There are some obvious advantages in terms of relying on mid-level health workers,” WHO’s Giorgio Cometto told NBC news in a telephone interview.
“They take less time to be trained. Typically, they cost less to remunerate. In some countries they are more likely to be retained in rural areas.”
David Auerbach, a researcher at the Rand Corp., says other studies have shown the same thing. “There’s really not much difference you can find in the quality,” he said.