The Federal Government has insisted that it cannot afford the World Health Organisation’s ratio of one doctor to 600 patients, but Nigeria however needs to deploy medical manpower proportionately and adequately, especially in rural areas.

This was disclosed by the Minister of Labour and Employment, Sen. Chris Ngige, at the two-day quarterly meeting of the Nigeria Health Commissioners Forum, on Friday, in Abuja, themed “Building a stronger health sector in Nigeria through collaboration and strategic partnership.”

What the Minister said:

Ngige said, “We’re not a United Nations’ country, we are a developing country. So, when such figures are given I will tell them every rule has an exception. We are not yet there.

“So, we shall make do with what we have. And when they’re saying he said yes. Surplus doctors. We have surpluses I keep on telling them that we have not deployed our medical manpower proportionately, and adequately as we should do.

“How many doctors do we have in the rural areas and in the suburbs since everybody is in the townships, with a medical and dental council data showing 4,000 doctors every year. Before, it used to be 3000, before the private universities came. A lot of them are not doing medicine, including Afe Babalola and others.

“We are now in about 4000 plus, the people even trained abroad are coming back from Russia and Ukraine, and the rest of them all Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN), is registering them.”

He added that most medically trained doctors want to come to Abuja, Lagos and Port Harcourt to stay. Stating that Nigeria has 10,000 primary care centres that are unmanned as at the last count.

Meanwhile, Prof. Akin Abayomi, Lagos State Commissioner for Health, called on state’s governors to improve healthcare delivery in their states, adding that there are more than 20,000 Nigerian-born physicians outside the country doing extremely well.

“This is why our governors should create an enabling environment for our physicians. By now, Nigeria should not be talking about brain drain rather, it should be talking about bringing back our physicians to the country,” he said.

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Nairametrics also reported that the Federal Government stated that it is committed to ending the strike by the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD), which has affected healthcare service delivery across the country.