By Asmau Ahmad
The Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) said Nigeria has about 24, 000 actively licensed physicians caring for its over 200 million population as a result of brain drain in the country.
The NMA President, Dr Ojinmah Uche, said this in Abuja during a policy dialogue on Nigeria’s health sector brain drain and its implications for sustainable child and family health service delivery.
The event was organised by the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies in collaboration with the Partnership for Advancing Child and Family Health at Scale project of the development Research and Projects Centre.
He said, “So in eight years, the United States of America 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.
“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 kilometers 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.”
According to him, a private sector-driven healthcare system with government support and enabling environment will over time stop and may even initiate brain gain.