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Nigeria needs 237,000 doctors to achieve Universal Health Coverage — LASUTH Boss

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Nigeria needs over 237,000 doctors to achieve Universal Health Coverage, says Prof. Adetokunbo Fabamwo, Chief Medical Director, Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), Ikeja.

Fabamwo said this at the Ordinary General Meeting of the Medical Guild, Lagos State chapter, held on Wednesday in Lagos.

The Meeting had as its theme, “Challenges of Inadequate Human Resources in the Health Sector: Way Forward”.

“There are about 40,000 doctors that are practicing in Nigeria now; whereas, the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria register contains about 91,000 names.

“So, where are the remaining 51,000? 80 per cent of those 51,000 are abroad, while 20 per cent have been affected by internal brain drain.

“ Internal brain drain is where a doctor stops practicing medicine and starts doing something else.

“Statisticians have calculated that it is going to take the country 100 years, at the rate we are going to produce all the doctors we need, “he said.

The director said that the country’s authorities must first accept the inadequacies in the health sector if the country must move forward in solving the problem.

According to him, there is need for the country to declare a national emergency in the sector, by ensuring that certain urgent measures must be taken.

“There must be a careful master plan for the health sector which should be implemented faithfully and with sincerity.

“Also, we need to review the wages in the health sector, ensuring that health workers are well paid and able to afford the basic things of life.

“We should pay attention to the quality of health workers that are produced in most of our schools including the medical, nursing schools and schools of technology,“ Fabamwo said.

Also, the Chairman of the guild, Dr Babajide Saheed, said that the theme of the meeting was relevant and required urgent attention.

Saheed said that three parameters including infrastructure, patients and health providers must be in place for healthcare delivery to be qualitative and effective.

“Increased infrastructure and increasing patient load requires an increase in the number of health workers, but there is often an unwillingness to do this.

“This may be due to financial constraints, lack of political will or simple misplacement of priorities.

“When infrastructure and number of clients increase, while the number of healthcare providers remains static or reduces, it becomes impossible for workers to provide accessible, qualitative healthcare delivery for the populace.

“This will lead to an increase in the morbidity and mortality rates in the country.

“The challenges can be resolved appropriately through health policy, which requires the political will to bring appropriate prioritisation and an increase in budgetary allocation to healthcare,‘’ he said.

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