While MDCAN said Nigeria will need 12,000 doctors annually to adequately address health problems in the country, the NMA noted that it will take the country at least 25 years to meet the ideal target of 333,334 doctors to address the health needs of Nigerians.
Recall that the health sector is currently plagued with brain drain, considering the high number of doctors and nurses that have relocated abroad in search of greener pastures, which has escalated the doctor-patient ratio to 10,000:1, against the recommended ratio of 600 doctors to one patient, as specified by the World Health Organisation, WHO.
‘12,000 doctors needed annually’
However, National President of MDCAN, Dr. Victor Makanjuola, said the counry will need an estimated 12,000 doctors annually.
Makanjuola, who disclosed this in a statement issued weekend, said a survey carried out earlier in March by the association’s Medical Education Committee discovered over 500 medical and dental consultants had left Nigeria for more developed countries over the past two years.
Consequently, he said the association will hold a one-day summit in Abuja on December 6 to address the issue.
The statement reads: “Disturbed by the impact of this ugly trend on our country’s health sector growth and development, the MDCAN has conducted a survey among its chapters in March 2022 and found that over 500 medical and dental consultants had left Nigeria for more developed countries over the preceding two years.
“A further exploration of data by the Association’s Medical Education Committee showed that 9 out of every 10 medical and dental consultants with less than five years experience on the job have plans to leave the country.
‘One doctor to 8,000 Nigerians’
”Furthermore, the Nigerian Medical Association recently reported that only 24,000 doctors are currently registered to practice in Nigeria, giving a ratio of one doctor to over 8,000 Nigerians, against the World Health Organisation’s recommended ratio of one doctor to every 600 people.
“It is important to note that the average medical and dental consultant is not only a clinician but also doubles as the teacher for medical students and doctors in specialist (residency) training.
”It, therefore, goes without saying that the loss of this category of highly-skilled workforce to other countries will not only have an immediate negative impact on clinical service delivery but will leave a long-term, devastating impact on the training of future doctors in Nigeria.
“Anecdotal projections indicate that the 3,000 fresh medical and dental doctors, on average, produced by our local medical schools in Nigeria and another 1,000 produced by foreign medical schools, fall far short of the number of such healthcare personnel required to meet the country’s yearly new medical manpower supply needs, estimated to fall between 10,000 and 12,000 (about three times the current rate).
”This is according to the National Post-Graduate Medical College. As a concerned stakeholder, we resolved to kick-start this necessary but difficult conversation that seeks to help the country shape the future of medical education in Nigeria in the hope of meeting the human resources needs of our national health system.
“While we continue to urge the government to improve the conditions of service and other ‘push’ factors, we consider this (summit) as an opportunity to rethink the philosophy and principles governing medical education in Nigeria.”