16,000 Doctors Fled Nigeria In 5 Years In Search Of Better Working Conditions – Pate


BY SEGUN ADEBAYO, ABUJA -The Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Prof Ali Pate, has disclosed that no fewer than 16,000 Nigerians left Nigeria in search of better working conditions abroad.

Speaking on Channels TV’s Politics Today on Sunday, the minister bemoaned that young Nigerian professionals, especially young doctors, health workers, tech entrepreneurs, among others, are fleeing the country for better opportunities abroad.

According to him, “In the last five years, the country lost about 15,000 to 16,000 doctors to the Japa syndrome, while about 17,000 had been transferred,” he said.

“There are about 300,000 health professionals working in Nigeria today in all cadres. I am talking about doctors, nurses, midwives, pharmacists, laboratory scientists, and others. We did an assessment and discovered we have 85,000 to 90,000 registered Nigerian doctors.

“Not all of them are in the country. Some are in the diaspora, especially in the US and UK. But there are 55,000 licenced doctors in the country.

“The issue overall, in terms of health professionals, is that they are not enough. They are insufficient in terms of the skill mix. Can you believe most of the highly skilled professional doctors are in Lagos, Abuja, and a few urban centres? There is a huge distribution issue.

The minister, who provided a detailed account of the doctors currently practicing in major Nigerian cities, highlighted that the doctor-to-patient ratio was insufficient for the country.

“The population of doctors overall is about 7,600 in Lagos and 4,700 or thereabout in Abuja. The doctor to population ratio in Abuja is 14.7 per 10,000 people. These are numbers that you can verify. In Lagos, it is about 4.6, even though the average is 2.2 by 10,000.

“There are huge distributional issues, and they are, of course, the opportunities even for some of those who have been trained to get into the market.

“So, you have to look at it from a holistic perspective. Not only doctors but other cadres are important in the delivery of health care. For doctors, we have been losing many that have been trained.”

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