BY Maryam Abdullahi
The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) says the inadequate number of medical workers in Nigeria’s health sector is causing a surge in maternal and infant mortality rates.
According to NAN, Babatunde Rosiji, NMA chairman in Ekiti, said this on Monday at a press conference to mark the association’s 2022 physicians’ week in Ado Ekiti.
Infant mortality refers to the death of a baby before his or her first birthday, while maternal mortality is the death is a woman from pregnancy-related complications.
Rosiji said the movement of Nigeria’s health workers to other facilities and foreign countries is causing a brain drain in the system, adding that the situation is slowly destroying the country’s health sector.
“Statistics by general medical council, which licenses and maintains official register of medical practitioners in UK showed that 200 Nigerian trained doctors were licensed between August 31, 2022 to September 30, 2022,” he said.
“The statistics also showed that about 1,307 doctors trained in Nigeria were licensed in UK as Nigeria continues to battle one of the worst situations of brain drain in history.
“In overall, 10,296 doctors who obtained their degrees in Nigeria currently practice in the UK.”
While commenting on the lapses in the health facilities in Ekiti, he said the state has only two health specialists in every hospital, adding that only 85 out of 276 consultants are available in the centres.
He said primary healthcare facilities across four LGAs in Ekiti have no doctors to attend to patients, heightening the rate of diseases in the state.
“Every secondary health centres and specialists hospitals in Ekiti must have at least nine doctors, but the highest we have is two per hospital,” he added.
“We are supposed to have 276 doctors, but we have just 85. How do you expect us not to have high mortality?
“We need about 195 doctors to run the Ekiti state University Teaching Hospital, but we only have 95.
“Why should people blame doctors for the monster the government has created? For the primary, we need 32 but only have 12 and four of them will be retiring soon.”
The NMA chairman urged Nigerians to take advantage of the forthcoming 2023 general election to vote for a candidate that will salvage the country’s health sector.
He further called on the government to enable hazard allowance to medical doctors on its payroll, adding that members may resort to industrial action if the backlog of salaries and other allowances are not paid.
Meanwhile, the NMA had earlier warned that the movement of Nigerian medical workers to foreign countries may result in importing health practitioners in the future.