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Nigeria Medical Associations Says FG Lying About Situation Of Things

Medical associations and experts have said the federal government is not being sincere and forthright with the situation of things regarding the pitiful conditions of Nigeria’s health sector.

This is as the stakeholders faulted the claim by the Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire that Nigeria has a sufficient number of medical doctors despite the brain drain.

The minister during a briefing on Tuesday stated that there were enough medical doctors in the country and that the number of doctors produced annually exceeds the number leaving the country.

But the umbrella body of medical doctors in the country, the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), and other stakeholders said the claim by the minister was far from the truth. They say the perennial brain drain by doctors is depleting the country’s medical care expertise and taking the country farther away from the recommended number of doctors per population.

The NMA insisted that just about 30,000 medical doctors were currently practising in Nigeria out of the about 80,000 registered with the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN) from 1960 to date.

The NMA also revealed that Nigeria currently has a doctor-to-patient ratio of one doctor to 4000-5000 patients instead of the one doctor to 600 patient ratio recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

A large number of those seeking to leave the country are consultants with different specialties in the field of medicine, thereby causing manpower shortages in the health facilities.

The minister of health had said: “At the moment we have heard complaints of doctors who are now leaving the system but there are actually enough doctors in the system in the country because we are producing up to 2,000 or 3,000 doctors every year in the country, and the number leaving is less than 1,000. It is just that the employment process needs to be smoothened.”

He said the ministry was working with the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation to have a one-for-one policy of employment.

“So if one doctor resigns today and goes abroad, we will employ one doctor. If it is one nurse, we replace it with one nurse. So, if we adopt a one-for-one replacement we are not likely to have a shortage.

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