Health stakeholders have alerted the Federal Government to a looming shortage of over 50,120 doctors and 137,859 nurses in Nigeria by 2030.
This translates to 33.45 per cent and 29.25 per cent gap in the two categories of medical professionals nationwide.
According to them, the most populated nation would approximately need 149,852 doctors and 471,353 nurses by 2030, but regretted that only 99,120 doctors and 333,494 nurses were available.
Speaking at an event in Abuja to launch the upgrade oncology programme to support government’s efforts in cancer control, the Project Pink Blue Executive Director, Runcie Chidebe, urged the President Muhammadu Buhari to declare a state of emergency on the shortage of healthcare workforce in the country.
According to Chidebe, the density of physicians to a patient is four doctors per 10,000 patients and 16.1 nurses and midwives per 10,000 patients, which he said, was less than the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommendations of one doctor to 600 patients and the critical threshold of 23 doctors, nurses and midwives per 10,000 patients.
He explained: “For a population of 201 million, Nigeria has less than 90 clinical oncologists who provide treatment to over 100,000 patients across the cancer centres.
“In our calculation, it means that there is only one cancer doctor to over 1,100 patients in Nigeria.
“The stark reality of this report stare us in the face and has become a legitimate cause for concern.
“Attracting and retaining healthcare workers are of greater concern. The mass migration of healthcare workers to foreign countries in recent years has only worsened the inequitable distribution of healthcare workers.”
The executive director continued: “As at today, nine in 10 Nigerian physicians are seeking opportunities abroad. This migration of Nigerian healthcare worker abroad impacts on Nigeria in diverse ways, for instance, the mortality cost of Nigerian physician migration to abroad totals to $3.1 billion yearly. Nigerian government loses at least N3.8 million for subsidising the training of its physicians who eventually leave the country to high income countries (HICs).”