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Producing health workers will take 20yrs

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By Abdulwasiu Usman

Nigerian doctor-to-patient ratio of 1-to-8,000 is extremely low.

Prominent experts in Nigerian healthcare sector have said that it will be difficult for the country to generate enough professionals to successfully address its rising healthcare needs as the brain drain crisis persists. They estimated that Nigeria would need at least 20 years to generate the 400,000 additional healthcare professionals necessary to meet the needs of the country’s 220 million people. In an exclusive interview with the media, Nigerian top medical professionals bemoaned the country’s awful doctor-to-patient ratio of 1-to-8,000, which is considerably lower than the 1-to-600 ratio recommended by the World Health Organization.

Professor Ali Pate, the Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, spoke to reporters in Abuja after a three-day briefing session with ministry departments and agencies, saying that the 400,000 workforce to be generated in the healthcare system include community health workers, nurses, midwives, pharmacists, physicians, lab scientists, technicians and auxiliaries. He said that there is roughly an 18 million workers shortage in the healthcare industry worldwide, therefore there is capacity to generate more and beyond.

Nigeria currently produces an average of 3,000 per year.

According to the Register of the General Medical Council of the United Kingdom, which maintains the official register of medical practitioners within the UK, there are 11,000 doctors trained in Nigeria who are practicing in the UK. Professor Mike Ogirima, a former president of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), stated that the enormous exodus of Nigerian healthcare professionals to foreign nations, predominantly driven by the pursuit of more favorable conditions, has exerted a deleterious impact on the few that are left.

He also termed the ratio of doctors to patients in Nigeria as a horrible one. Prof. Ogirima, who is also the Provost of the College of Health Sciences at Federal University Lokoja in Kogi State, lamented that Nigeria currently has a severe shortage of doctors as it only generates an average of 3,000 per year. A professor of orthopedic and trauma surgery in Nigeria explained that the current medical workforce deficit in the country’s public hospitals was not an overnight phenomenon. In 2016, Ogirima revealed that there are at least 20,000 Nigerian doctors working in the United States and over 15,000 in European countries.

FG can begin by retaining the current pool of health workforce.

About 40,000 of Nigerian 75,000 registered medical professionals were practicing abroad in 2017, with a more alarming speculation that 75 percent of those who remained in the country planned to leave the nation in the near future. Ogrima implored the government to allocate substantial resources towards the enhancement of health workers’ training and the amelioration of the prevailing predicaments of insecurity. He added that it will be challenging for the country to retain health professionals in the absence of adequate provisions of equipment and motivation.

Prof. Adetokunbo Fabamwo, the Chief Medical Director of the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital in Ikeja, argued that the federal government should do all possible to keep the remaining medical doctors in the country. He pointed out that there is a significant amount of loss in developing countries. That’s why there’s such a dramatic influx of Nigerian medical professionals to the UK, Canada and the US. As the federal government plans to produce 400,000 new health workers is still unknown, the Prof. suggested they begin by retaining the current pool of health workforce. Current conditions show that they are departing as we produce more, he added.

Minister should promote teamwork among medical professionals.

Olumide Akintayo, a former president of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria, warned our press that the country’s lack of human resources would make it difficult to generate 400,000 worth of health personnel. “We cannot produce these numbers in the universities. Who are the people going to train this number,” he asked. He further suggested that the minister coordinating healthcare remove barriers in healthcare and promote teamwork among medical professionals. Providing services for the country’s healthcare needs has become increasingly difficult due to the widespread departure of medical professionals.

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2 months ago

Producing health workers will take 20yrs.Nigerian doctor-to-patient ratio of 1-to-8,000 is extremely low. – Express your point of view.

Last edited 2 months ago by Kenny Adetunji
2 months ago

I completely understand your concern about the shortage of healthcare workers in Nigeria. The current doctor-to-patient ratio of 1-to-8,000 is indeed alarmingly low and highlights the need for urgent action. While it is true that producing more health workers will take time, it is crucial for the government and relevant stakeholders to prioritize long-term investments in healthcare education, training, and infrastructure. By doing so, we can work towards increasing the number of healthcare professionals and improving access to quality healthcare services across the country.
In addition to producing more health workers, it is also important to focus on retaining existing healthcare professionals and addressing the factors that contribute to their migration. This can be done by providing better working conditions, competitive salaries, and opportunities for professional growth and development. Furthermore, efforts should be made to increase the number of medical schools and training programs, as well as strengthen collaborations with international partners to enhance knowledge sharing and capacity building.
It is crucial to recognize that addressing the shortage of healthcare workers is a complex and multifaceted issue that requires a comprehensive approach. This includes not only increasing the number of doctors but also investing in other healthcare professionals such as nurses, midwives, and allied health workers. By building a strong and diverse healthcare workforce, we can ensure that every Nigerian has access to the healthcare services they need.
While it may take time to see significant improvements, it is important to remain committed to this goal and continue advocating for increased investment in healthcare. Together, we can work towards a future where every Nigerian has access to quality healthcare and no one is left behind.

2 months ago

That doctor to patient ratio is really alarming! In just 20 years, it will be difficult to generate enough health professionals. To address this issue, healthcare needs additional backing and funding.

2 months ago

Producing health workers will take 20yrs There is now just 1 doctor for every 8,000 patients, thus urgent action is needed. The government must prioritize supporting health institutions even if it will take time to develop more health professionals