The president, World Medical Association, Dr Osahon Enabulele, has disclosed that Nigeria needs over 250,000 medical doctors to meet the World Health Organisation’s doctor-topatient ratio.
He revealed that Nigeria has fewer than 100,000 registered doctors, which he described as “grossly inadequate” to meet the doctor-patient ratio.
Osahon, who made this remark in Benin City yesterday during a public lecture organised by the Federated Chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Edo State council, lamented that out of the fewer than 100,000 doctors, only about 50,000 are actively practising in the country. He said, “By international standard, a doctor should be assigned to fewer than 600 patients, but in Nigeria’s case, a doctor attends to over 3,000 patients. So, with this inadequacy, Nigeria needs over 250,000 doctors to cope with the current reality.
“The fact is, going by the last updated register of the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria, we have fewer than 100,000 registered doctors in the country. Let’s say, about 98,000 doctors.
Out of this 98,000, only 50,000 or thereabout are actively practising in Nigeria. You may want to ask: where are the remainder? Many have gone outside the country to practise due to the poor remuneration; many have left the profession,” he said.
Enabule stressed that for Nigeria to have a good healthcare system, there must be political will by political leaders to meet the Abuja Declaration of dedicating 15 percent of its budget to healthcare provision. He decried how political leaders in the country travel abroad to queue up before seeing less qualified doctors just to check their blood pressure which they can conveniently do in the country.
Enabulele, however, identified lack of funds, inadequate infrastructure, u n e m p l o y m e n t , workplace conditions, remuneration, brain drain, economy, inflation and ineffective healthcare, among others, as problems facing Nigeria’s health system.
“Because of these problems, senior doctors, consultants, are moving out of Nigeria because of greater remuneration,” he said. This, he said, has resulted in low quality of healthcare delivery in the country.
He called for improved political commitment, empowered healthcare workforce, improved working condition, recognition of value and professional work of medical practitioners; stoppage of medical tourism by political leaders, and making wages competitive in order to change the narrative in the health sector.