In recent years, Nigeria’s health sector has been placed in a precarious situation facing specific challenges as medical doctors and nurses are fast depleting at an alarming rate in the country in search of greener pastures. Necessary institutes have released pessimistic analyses and recommendations on the state of the health sector, which has witnessed a rise in the doctor-patient ratio to 10,000:1, a far cry from the World Health Organization (WHO) recommended ratio of 600 patient to 1 doctor.
Dr. Victor Makanjuola, president of the Medical and Dental Consultants Association of Nigeria (MDCAN), estimated that Nigeria needs 12,000 doctors each year to adequately address the healthcare issues confronting the nation. More than 500 medical and dental consultants have left Nigeria for more developed nations in the last two years, he said, citing a report conducted in March by the Association’s Medical Education Committee. One in ten medical and dental consultants with less than five years of experience plans to leave the country. Dr. Victor Makanjuola has confirmed that an all-day meeting will be held in Abuja to discuss the problem.
It will take Nigeria 25 years to reach optimal aim of 333,334 doctors.
Furtherly, the Nigerian Medical Association released a report estimating the doctor-citizen ratio to be one doctor per more than 8,000 people. It is important to underscore that the typical medical or dental consultant is a clinician and an educator for medical students and physicians in specialty training. Also, it reveals that the gradual depletion of the skilled labour force would adversely affect healthcare service delivery and the training of future medical professionals in the long run.
National President of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), Dr. Uche Ojinmah, has also weighed in, noting that it would take Nigeria 25 years to reach the optimal aim of 333,334 doctors needed to care for a population of 200 million at the current rate of production (12,000 physicians each year). As a result, he proposes establishing more advanced medical institutions across the country. Dr. Ojinmah said that the government should enhance its efforts to ensure physicians are satisfied with their jobs by fostering a pleasant workplace and ramping up their compensation and benefits.
Government should declare a state of emergency in the health sector.
In addition, the National President of the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors, Dr. Emeka Orji, emphasized that the problem has a significant influence on the health sector and that it should be handled expeditiously in order to prevent an unanticipated catastrophe. He maintains that the government of Nigeria needs to investigate the primary factors contributing to the depleted number of medical practitioners in the country, such as welfare and other entitled bonuses that the government has been disregarding.
On his part, the chairman of the Medical Guild, Dr. Sa’eid Ahmad, who emphasized the increasing depletion of doctors in the country, noted that 2,000 doctors have left the country in the last two years. Dr. Ahmad also argues that the issues plaguing the country’s health sector must be addressed before the situation exacerbates. He asserts that the government at all levels to declare a state of emergency in the health sector. He added that substantial measures should be taken to attain the desired outcome.
The nation only produces an average of 3,000 new doctors locally.
Nigeria’s annual new medical workforce supply requirements are expected to fall between 10,000 and 12,000, while the nation only produces an average of 3,000 new medical and dental doctors from its local medical schools plus an additional 1,000 from foreign medical schools (about three times the current rate). The National Postgraduate Medical University maintains its appeals for enhanced service conditions and other motivators. As such, the summit is seen as a possible means through which national legislation governing medical education might be examined.