Health

Nigeria Loses 40,000 Registered Doctors to Foreign Nations

The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) at the weekend said less than half of the total number of doctors registered with the Medical and Dental Council (MDCN) are practising in the country.

The President of NMA, Prof. Innocent Ujah made the disclosure Friday at the virtual eighth biennial and scientific conference and annual general meeting of the Medical Women Association of Nigeria (MWAN), Kaduna state chapter.

At the conference, Ujah called on the federal government to look into establishing an institution like the Bank of Industry (BoI) in the health sector as part of efforts to boost service delivery.

According to Ujah, such a bank will provide support for private health practitioners and also curb brain drain.

“We have seen how the Bank of Industry and Bank of Agriculture are transforming the industrial and agricultural sector,” NAN quoted him as saying.

“It is time that the gesture is extended to the health sector to boost service delivery and curb brain drain and health tourism.”

While noting that 40,000 doctors are practising in the country out of over 80,000 who registered with the MDCN, he expressed concern about the “lack of investment” in the health sector, adding that “paucity of equipment and frequent strikes’ prevent health practitioners from carrying out their duties efficiently.

“The current doctor to population ratio in the country is about one doctor to between 4,000 and 5,000 population,” he said.

“This falls short of the one doctor to 600 population as recommended by the World Health Organisation. This means that we need about 303,333 medical doctors now, and at least 10,605 new doctors annually to bridge the manpower gap in the health sector.

“This is particularly disturbing because Nigeria only graduates about 3,000 to 3,5000 medical doctors across medical schools in the country annually.

“Human resources for health, one of the pillars of a strong system, is depleted by brain drain, making the system weak to face pandemics.

“Government must, therefore, improve healthcare financing with 15 percent of total budgetary allocation to the sector, full implementation of the National Health Act and other interventions to improve the sector’s delivery systems.”

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