By Biodun Busari

The Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) has lamented the brain drain bedevilling the country saying Nigeria is currently left with about 24,000 actively licensed medical doctors caring for over 200 million population, meaning it is one doctor to 10,000 patients.

President of the NMA, Dr Ojinmah Uche revealed this on Wednesday in Abuja during a policy dialogue on the country’s health sector brain drain and its implications for sustainable child and family health service delivery.

The event was organised by the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies in collaboration with the Partnership for Advancing Child and Family Health at Scale project of the development Research and Projects Centre.

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At the event, Uche said: “So in eight years, USA produced and acquired (Brain drain) more doctors than Nigeria has produced from 1963-2021 (58 years).

“The real shocker comes when you note that what was reflected by the USA record were “actively licensed physicians” not just those registered to practice.

“At this juncture, I leave to your imagination the number of actively licensed physicians in Nigeria relative to those registered to practice as stated above.

“Available data places it around 24,000 giving a horrible true ratio of approximately 1:10,000. This ratio of 1:10,000 is a national average but in most states, the situation is palpably worse.”

The helmsman of the doctors’ association further said that the situation is worse in the northern part of the country where one doctor is available to treat 45,000, disclosing that in rural areas, people travel more than 30 kilometres before accessing a healthcare facility.

“Only one doctor is incredibly available to treat 30, 000 patients in some states in the south, while states in the North are as worse as one doctor to 45,000 patients.

“In some rural areas, patients have to travel more than 30 kilometres from their abodes to get medical attention where available thus making access to healthcare a rarity.

“Based on WHO established minimum threshold, a country needs a mix of 23 doctors, nurses and midwives per 10,000 Population to deliver essential maternal and child health services. This explains why Nigeria ranks as one of the countries with the worst maternal and child mortality rates,” Uche added.

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