Dr. Osahon Enabulele, the President of the World Medical Association, has revealed that Nigeria is in need of more than 250,000 medical doctors to align with the doctor-to-patient ratio recommended by the World Health Organization,leadership reports.
Dr. Enabulele pointed out that Nigeria currently has fewer than 100,000 registered doctors, a number he deemed “grossly inadequate” to meet the demand of the doctor-patient ratio. He further lamented that out of this figure, only around 50,000 doctors are actively practicing within the country.
In accordance with international standards, a doctor should ideally be responsible for fewer than 600 patients. However, in Nigeria, each doctor tends to more than 3,000 patients. This glaring inadequacy underscores the need for over 250,000 doctors in Nigeria to address the current healthcare reality.
Dr. Enabulele emphasized that based on the latest register of the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria, the country has fewer than 100,000 registered doctors, approximately 98,000. Out of this total, only about 50,000 actively practice in Nigeria, with many others leaving the profession or practicing abroad due to issues like poor remuneration.
He stressed that for Nigeria to establish a robust healthcare system, there must be a commitment from political leaders to adhere to the Abuja Declaration, which advocates dedicating 15 percent of the budget to healthcare provision. Dr. Enabulele criticized the practice of political leaders traveling abroad to seek medical care from less qualified doctors, a practice that could be conveniently avoided in Nigeria.
Dr. Enabulele identified several challenges facing Nigeria’s healthcare system, including a lack of funds, inadequate infrastructure, unemployment, poor workplace conditions, low remuneration, brain drain, economic issues, inflation, and inefficiencies in healthcare delivery. He noted that senior doctors and consultants are leaving Nigeria for better remuneration opportunities abroad, resulting in a decline in the quality of healthcare in the country.
He called for enhanced political commitment, an empowered healthcare workforce, improved working conditions, recognition of the value and professionalism of medical practitioners, an end to medical tourism by political leaders, and competitive wages to bring positive change to the healthcare sector.