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Surplus Doctors Myth: Nigeria’s Doctor to Patient Ratio is One to 6000

Health and Environment

Surplus Doctors Myth: Nigeria’s Doctor to Patient Ratio is One to 6000

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige during a recent interview on Channels Television said Nigeria has surplus doctors, so brain drain cannot affect the country in any way.

When asked about the rate of doctors relocating to other countries, he said

“No, I am not worried (about doctors leaving the country). We have surplus. If you have surplus, you export. It happened some years ago here. I was taught chemistry and biology by Indian teachers in my secondary school days.

“Who says we don’t have enough doctors? We have more than enough. You can quote me. There is nothing wrong in them travelling out. When they go abroad, they earn money and send it back home here. Yes, we have foreign exchange earnings from them and not just oil.

“Will you call that brain drain? I know a couple of them who practise abroad but set up medical centres back home. They have scanners and magnetic resonance imaging, which even the government cannot maintain. So, I don’t see any loss.”

In actual reality, according to the Nigerian Medical Association, the country’s doctor to patient ratio is one to six thousand as against World Health Organisation recommended one to six hundred.

The Nigerian Health Sector is woeful, government hospitals lack bed spaces, facilities and personnel.

A state of emergency needs to be declared in the health sector. Peddling the myth of surplus doctors in Nigeria will not get us anywhere. We need to face the reality that Nigerian doctors are leaving the country and most of them vow never to come back.

Cuba alone has 591 doctors per 100,000 patients. That is about one doctor to 170 patients.

How do we compare as a nation?

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