Nigeria will need 20 years to produce enough physicians, chemists and other medical professionals – Stakeholders


Experts in Nigeria’s healthcare industry say it’s impossible to train enough people to meet the country’s growing demand for medical services as long as the brain drain continues at its current rate.

According to Sunday PUNCH, experts estimated that it would take Nigeria at least 20 years to produce the 400,000 additional healthcare professionals necessary to meet the needs of the country’s 220 million people.


According to senior medical professionals who spoke exclusively with our correspondents, Nigeria has a terrible doctor-to-patient ratio of 1:8,000. This is far below the World Health Organization’s recommended ratio of 1:600.


Professor Ali Pate, Nigeria’s Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, recently stated that the country still requires approximately 400,000 health workers in order to effectively meet the healthcare needs of Nigerians.


Pate, speaking to journalists in Abuja following a three-day briefing with ministry agencies, said, “The 400,000 workforce comprise community health workers, nurses, midwives, chemists, physicians, lab scientists, technicians and auxiliaries working in the Nigerian healthcare system.”


The minister stated that there are not enough health workers to care for the country’s 220 million people, and that the country’s doctor-to-population ratio is lower than what is required by the World Health Organisation.


Because there is a shortage of medical professionals around the world—almost 18 million, he estimated—he said there was room to produce more than was needed.


There are now 11,001 doctors with Nigerian educations working in the UK, as recorded by the General Medical Council’s Register.


The General Medical Council (GMC) is a government agency in charge of the UK’s central medical practitioner database.


Professor Mike Ogirima, a former president of the Nigerian Medical Association, told our correspondent that the country’s few remaining doctors have been negatively affected by the mass exodus of Nigerian health workers to foreign countries in search of greener pastures.


He said there was an awful shortage of doctors in Nigeria.


Ogirima, who is also the Provost of the College of Health Sciences at Federal University Lokoja in Kogi State, lamented that Nigeria has a severe shortage of doctors because it only produces around 3,000 new physicians every year.


He stated, “The shortage of physicians is approximately 280,000 if we are only producing 3000 per year. If we continue to produce doctors at the current rate, it will take us about 10 years to catch up. The current rate needs to be doubled if we are to hire additional medical personnel.


With our growing population, the shortage of doctors in the United States has reached a crisis level of 300,000. It will take us roughly 10 years to catch up, and that time is simply not available to us at this point.


A WHO-recommended ratio of one doctor per 600 people is currently one doctor for every 8,000 people in Nigeria. That’s why your doctors will look exhausted the next time you visit the hospital.


According to the Professor of Orthopaedics and Trauma Surgery, the lack of doctors at Nigeria’s public hospitals didn’t just appear out of nowhere.


As of right now, there are roughly 45,000 practising physicians in Nigeria. They have emigrated in large numbers. It will take another decade to produce that many health workers if it takes ten years to get that many doctors.


To train 400,000 new medical professionals would take at least 15–20 years. The world and its people will not wait for us if we are behind and it takes us ten years to catch up.


According to Ogirima (2016), there are at least 20,000 Nigerian doctors working in the United States and another 15,000 in Europe.


Dr. Olumuyiwa Odusote, the chairman of the Lagos branch of the NMA, made this startling admission in 2017: out of Nigeria’s 75,000 registered medical doctors, about 40,000 were practising medicine abroad.


It will be difficult for Nigeria to retain its health workers if the country does not invest in their training and address the challenges of insecurity, as stated by Ogrima.


Professor Adetokunbo Fabamwo, chief medical director of the Ikeja campus of the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, has urged the federal government to do everything possible to keep the remaining medical professionals in the country.


What I do know is that there is a massive leakage in third world countries,” he said. Thus, many Nigerian medical professionals are leaving for better opportunities in other countries. How the FG plans to train 400,000 new medical professionals is a mystery to me.


Keep the ones we have at the very least,” I know where to begin. The current state of affairs is that they are leaving even as we increase production. It’s similar to trying to carry water in a basket. If we are successful in stopping the migration, we can begin planning.


Our correspondent was told by Olumide Akintayo, a former president of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria, that the country would have a hard time producing N400,000 worth of health workers due to a lack of human resources.


In academia, we are unable to generate such large numbers. With a question, “Who are the people who are going to train this number?” he pressed on.


He suggested that the minister coordinating healthcare remove barriers to care and promote cooperation among medical professionals.


One of the most pressing problems facing the country right now is the widespread departure of medical personnel.


About 88% of medical doctors in Nigeria were looking for work opportunities abroad in 2017, according to a survey conducted by the Nigerian Polling organisation in collaboration with Nigeria Health Watch.




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