Nigeria has 10,000 patients with one doctor to provide care – NMA

Nigeria would need 1,000 more doctors if they want to improve the availability of healthcare in the country to match the standard 20 doctors per 10,000 people recommended by WHO.

Nigeria has 10,000 patients with one doctor to provide care - NMA

The Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) has been vocal about the problem of brain drain in the country and their most recent count indicates that Nigeria is currently left with approximately 24,000 actively licensed medical doctors caring for over 200 million population, meaning it’s one doctor to 10,000 patients.

The president of the NMA, Dr. Ojinmah Uche, shared this on Wednesday during a policy dialogue in Abuja on the impact of our health sector ‘brain drain’ on child and family healthcare.

The event was organised by the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies along with the Partnership for Advancing Child and Family Health at Scale Project, a part of the Development Research and Projects Centre.

At the event, Uche said: “So in eight years, USA produced and acquired (Brain drain) more doctors than Nigeria has produced from 1963-2021 (58 years).

“The real shocker comes when you note that what was reflected by the USA record were “actively licensed physicians” not just those registered to practice.

“At this juncture, I leave to your imagination the number of actively licensed physicians in Nigeria relative to those registered to practice as stated above.

“Available data places it around 24,000 giving a horrible true ratio of approximately 1:10,000. This ratio of 1:10,000 is a national average but in most states, the situation is palpably worse.”

The President of the Doctors Association said that the situation is worse in the north where one doctor treats 45,000 people. He also said that in rural areas, people travel more than 30 kilometres before they can access a healthcare facility.

“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 kilometres from their abodes to get medical attention where available thus making access to healthcare a rarity.

“Based on WHO 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. This explains why Nigeria ranks as one of the countries with the worst maternal and child mortality rates,” Uche added.


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