Dr Uche Ojinmah, the president of the Nigerian Medical Association has said that about 20,000 medical doctors have left the country, out of 50,000 who should be enough to “cater for the country”.
Ojinmah said this on Thursday to revert what the Health minister, Osagie Ehanire said about having enough doctors for over 200 million Nigerians, confirming that ing “based on the facts available to them, the country does not have enough medical doctors.
“When you remove those that have died, those that have left the profession and those that have joined politics as well as those that have stopped practising, it will come down out 40 or 50,000 doctors.
“Today, out of this number left, almost 20,000 have left the country, leaving us with about 20,000 to 25,000 doctors to cater for over 200 million Nigerians. This will give us a ratio of about 1 doctor to 450,000 or 5000 patients. The WHO ratio is 1 to 600 and this is the yawning gap and the Minister feels that 2000 to 3000 doctors produced in a year can cover the gap.” Ojimnah said.
Ojimnah also added that Ehanire
may have been misquoted claiming a country that parades a ratio of 1 doctor to 450,000/5000 patients contrary to the World Health Organization’s ratio of 1 doctor to 600 patients have not enough doctors to attend to a population of over 200 million people.
“I don’t think he (minister) is serious about that but the fundamental thing here is that don’t want enough doctors. He must have been misquoted because from 1960 to 2020, we have produced recorded over 80,000 doctors and 5,000 dentists registered with the Medical and Dental Council.”
Ojimnah said even if Nigeria produces 2,000 to 3,000 medical doctors annually, they cannot replace consultants that have up to 15 to 20 years of experience the country loses to other countries due to poor remuneration, environment and insecurity.
“We do not agree with the Minister based on the facts available to us, go and check the number of doctors who have registered with the UK Medical Council in the past two weeks. They are over 260 doctors and that is just the only UK. I am not talking about America and Canada. Canada is coming down and taking them and running away. I want to believe that the Minister of Health was misquoted.”
He called on the Federal government to tackle the brain drain problem in the health sector by addressing factors pushing doctors out of the country.