Home News Nigeria lost16,000 licensed doctors in five years – Prof. Pate

Nigeria lost16,000 licensed doctors in five years – Prof. Pate

by Haruna Gimba

By Muhammad Amaan

The number of licensed doctors presently seeing to the health needs and demands of Nigerians as the country continues to be plagued by the japa syndrome is now 55,000.

The Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Professor Muhammad Ali Pate, disclosed these when he was featured as a guest on Channels Television’s Politics Today.

He said the brain drain syndrome has robbed the health sector of its best hands, and affirmed that the government is doing its best to expand the training scheme and motivate others who chose to stay back and serve their fatherland.

The brain drain phenomenon, otherwise known as ‘Japa,’ has seen a generation of young doctors, health workers, tech entrepreneurs and several professionals abandoning Nigeria for greener pastures abroad.

However, Pate reiterated that though there are 300,000 health professionals in Nigeria, only 55,000 are doctors.

He said, “There are about 300,000 health professionals working in Nigeria today in all cadres. I am talking about doctors, nurses, midwives, pharmacists, laboratory scientists and others.

“We did an assessment and discovered we have 85,000 to 90,000 registered Nigerian doctors. Not all of them are in the country. Some are in the Diaspora, especially in the US and UK. But there are 55,000 licensed doctors in the country.

“The issue overall, in terms of health professionals, is that they are not enough. They are insufficient in terms of the skills mix. Can you believe most of the highly skilled professional doctors are in Lagos, Abuja and a few urban centres? There is a huge distribution issue.

“The population of doctors overall is about 7,600 doctors in Lagos and 4,700 or thereabout in Abuja. The doctor-to-population ratio in Abuja is 14.7 per 10,000 population. These are numbers that you can verify. In Lagos, it is about 4.6, even though the average is 2.2 by 10,000.

“There are huge distributional issues and they are, of course, the opportunities even for some of those who have been trained to get into the market. So you have to look at it from a perspective that is holistic. Not only doctors but other cadres that are important in the delivery of health care. For doctors, we have been losing many that have been trained.”

The minister emphasised that since the oxygen of any serious health sector is its human resource, Nigeria cannot afford to continue losing its best brains to developed countries.

He, however, admitted that the Japa syndrome is a global phenomenon that equally affects other countries like India and Pakistan.

Noting that the country has lost about 16,000 doctors to brain drain in the past five years, Pate said, “Now to the Japa you talked about, it is not only limited to Nigeria. It is a global phenomenon. Other countries don’t have enough. They are asking to take more. It is not only in Nigeria. It is happening in India, the Philippines and other parts of Africa.

“In the last five years, we have lost about 15,000 to 16,000 and about 17,000 have been transferred. We’re barely managing. That’s why expanding their training will become logical. The same thing with nurses and midwives; they are also leaving. That’s why expanding the training is important to ensure those still around are well-trained,” he said.

Related Articles

Leave a Comment