The current number of actively licensed doctors in Nigeria is in the region of 24, 000, NewsSpecng learnt.
The estimated population of the country is 200 million. This means that the country has a doctor to attend to over 8,000 patients.
The Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) blamed brain drain for the depletion in the number of registered doctors in the country.
NMA President, Ojinmah Uche, Wednesday blamed brain drain on poor funding of the health sector, stressful medical education, non-existent house job slots, difficulty in gaining employment, poor remuneration, unnecessary and unhealthy inter-professional rivalry, insecurity, among others.
He spoke in Abuja at a policy dialogue on Nigeria’s health sector brain drain and its implications for sustainable child and family health service delivery, organised by the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies in collaboration with the Partnership for Advancing Child and Family Health at Scale project of the development Research and Projects Centre (dRPC).
He said the current situation gives a horrible true ratio of approximately 1 doctor to 10,000 patients ratio.
He said, “Only one doctor is incredibly available to treat 30,000 patients in some states in the South; while states in the North are as worse as one doctor to 45,000 patients. In some rural areas, patients have to travel more than 30 kilometers from their abodes to get medical attention where available thus Nigeria making access to healthcare a rarity.”
Ojinmah said based on the World Health Organisation established minimum threshold, a country needs a mix of 23 doctors, nurses and midwives per 10,000 population to deliver essential maternal and child health services.
The Director-General of the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies Kuru, Ayo Omotayo, said Nigeria currently has the third highest number of foreign medical doctors working in the United Kingdom after India and Pakistan.
The Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, represented by Sydney Ibeanusi, Director of Trauma, Emergency and Disaster Response, said the emigration of trained and highly skilled health workforce was of great concern as it put further strain on the already challenged health system.
He said some other things to consider to repatriate the acquired knowledge and skill by the migrating workforce are bonding of healthcare persons trained in the public health institutions, increasing the tuition fee in public health institution relative to those in the private institution and provision of grants for trainee which must be paid back after graduation before they will be allowed to emigrate.