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2014 October 22 - 28 [WELFARE]

Doctors sound alarm on shortage of obstetricians in 9 prefs

October 26, 2014
Japan’s two medical associations for obstetricians and gynecologists recently published a report stating that nine of the 47 prefectures in the nation are far short of obstetricians.

The Japan Society of Obstetrics and Gynecology (JSOG) and the Japan Association of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (JAOG) conducted a joint survey of maternity institutions throughout the country. The number of obstetricians totaled 9,702 as of March this year.

The national average number of obstetricians per 100,000 people was 7.6. By prefecture, the smallest number was 4.8 in Ibaraki while the largest was 11.1 in Tokyo and Okinawa.

The largest number of deliveries per obstetrician was 158 in Ibaraki and the smallest was 66 in Tokyo.

Obstetrics is in the medical field of surgery and in the past almost all obstetricians were men. In recent years, women obstetricians have rapidly increased, accounting for a majority of obstetricians under 40 years old.

On the other hand, obstetricians’ working conditions are harsh because they often have to deal with premature deliveries and perform Caesarean sections. After giving birth to their own children, a number of women obstetricians move to other departments to balance their careers with child-rearing responsibilities.

Nippon Medical School Professor Nakai Akihito, who was in charge of this survey, underscored the need to improve obstetricians’ working conditions, saying, “Many of those young doctors actually want to remain in the maternity division.”

Past related article:
> Immediately improve emergency obstetric care system! [November 15, 2007]
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