The mass exodus of doctors and health workers in other specialties has left Nigeria grappling with a shortage of manpower, leading to an unpleasant Doctor-Patient ratio.
Amid this, the Nigerian Medical Association, NMA is worried over the shortage of doctors in Ogun state, South West Nigeria. They put the current ratio at one doctor to 6,400 patients.
The NMA Chairman in the state, Dr. Azim Ashimi, revealed that in the last four years, about 25 percent of doctors practicing in the state had “left the state for other states in the country and other countries outside of Nigeria, while some have retired from active service.
Ashimi said that the state with over six million people has only 1,000 doctors in the public and private hospitals.
The World Health Organisation recommends a
-to-patient ratio for member countries, to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, SDG target in healthcare.
Based on the NMA’s list of active doctors in the state, the association insisted that the ratio in Ogun State was approximately ten times worse than the WHO-recommended ratio.
Almost all the government health institutions in the state are battling health worker shortages as they cannot cope with the high number of patients that throng the government hospitals.
Statistics show that approximately 1,197 Nigerian-trained doctors moved to the United Kingdom since May 29, 2023, to date.
According to the register of the General Medical Council of the UK, Nigeria is set to overtake Pakistan and become the country with the second-highest number of foreign-trained doctors in the UK.
Currently, India remains the country with the highest number of foreign-trained doctors in the UK.
Though about 1,197 Nigerian-trained doctors were licensed between May 29, 2023, and December 1, 2023, the total number of Nigerian doctors licensed to practice in the UK is now 12,198.
Ashimi listed communicable diseases like malaria and water and food-borne diseases as the most common health conditions in the state. The physician lamented that public hospitals were running below standards and had to reduce the number of patients’ intake so as not to overstretch the available facilities and healthcare workers.
According to him, many of these facilities are making use of any available doctors to cover where there are shortages of specialists or specialties.
The NMA chair said, “Roughly there are presently about 1,000 (one thousand) doctors left in Ogun State. These include doctors in public and private hospitals. Federal Medical Centre Abeokuta remains the single largest employer of doctors and other healthcare practitioners.
Many in the country have expressed concern over Nigeria’s poor health sector and the rate of doctors’ exodus.
President Bola Tinubu had on Tuesday, December 12, appealed to Nigerian health workers practicing abroad to “sacrifice their time to come back home and serve their people.”
He said his administration was prioritizing and improving Nigeria’s health sector through massive investments and an increased allocation of funds in the proposed 2024 budget.