Global Gaps in Training Opportunities for Pediatricians and Pediatric Subspecialists

Document Type



Paediatrics and Child Health (East Africa)


Objective: A comprehensive, well-trained pediatric workforce is needed to ensure high-quality child health interventions around the globe. Further understanding of pediatric workforce training capacity would assist planning at the global and country level. The purpose of this study was to better understand the availability and process of training programs for pediatricians and pediatric subspecialists worldwide, as well as in-country presence of subspecialists.

Methods: A survey was developed and distributed by e-mail to national pediatric leaders across the globe. The survey asked about the number of pediatric training programs, duration and logistics of training, and whether practicing pediatric subspecialists and subspecialty training programs were available in their country.

Results: We received responses from 121 of the 166 countries contacted (73%). Of these, 108 countries reported the presence of one or more general pediatric postgraduate training programs, ranging from 1 to 500 programs per country. The number of training programs did not vary significantly by gross domestic product but did vary by region, with the fewest in Africa (P < .001). Most countries identified national guidelines for training (82% of countries) and accreditation (84% of countries). Availability of pediatric subspecialists varied significantly by income and region, from no subspecialties available in 4 countries to all 26 queried subspecialties available in 17 countries. Neonatology was most common, available in 88% of countries. Subspecialty training programs were less available overall, significantly correlating with country income.

Conclusion: Education for general pediatrics and pediatric subspecialties is quite limited in many of the countries surveyed, particularly in Africa. The creation of additional educational capacity is a critical issue challenging the adequate provision of pediatrics and pediatric subspecialty services.

Publication (Name of Journal)

Academic Pediatrics