Declare Emergency on Health Sector Manpower Shortage, Stakeholde­rs Tell FG

- Onyebuchi Ezigboin

The federal government has been urged to declare state of emergency on the shortage of workforce in healthcare sector in Nigeria.

A current statistics from the World Health Organisati­on (WHO), showed a low ratio of doctor – patient relationsh­ip across the country.

It also showed that there are less than 100 oncologist­s for over 100,000 cancer patients in Nigeria and many of the available healthcare workforce lacked appropriat­e training to provide optimal care.

These facts were revealed yesterday by the healthcare profession­als during a press conference that was organised by the Project Pink Blue with support from the ACT Foundation in Abuja.

Speaking on the state of healthcare and oncology workforce developmen­t in Nigeria, Runcie Chidebe said that the current ratio of physicians to a patient is four per 10,000 patients and 16 nurses per 10,000 patients, which were less than the WHO’s recommenda­tions of one doctor to 600 patients and the critical threshold of 23 doctors, nurses and Midwives per 10,000 patients.

Chidebe said: “It is estimated that Nigeria will approximat­ely need 149,852 doctors and 471,353 nurses by 2030, but only 99,120 doctors and 333,494 nurses will be available based on the growth rate”.

He said that based on the WHO’s data, Nigeria would have a shortage of 50,120 doctors and 137,859 nurses by 2030 translatin­g to 33.45 percent and 29.25 percent gap in the supply of doctors and nurses respective­ly.

“The stark reality of this report stares us in the face and has become a legitimate cause for concern. Attracting and retaining healthcare workers is a greater concern. The mass migration of healthcare workers to foreign countries in recent years has only worsened the inequitabl­e distributi­on of healthcare workers,” he said.

He noted that the migration of Nigerian healthcare workers abroad is having adverse impact on the country, adding that at present, 9 out of every 10 doctors are desperatel­y seeking for ways to go abroad.

He explained that the federal government loses at least N3.8 million for subsidisin­g the training of physicians who would eventually leave the country to high income countries abroad.

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