ABUJA, 25 April 2019 — Abundant Nigeria Renewal Party has expressed despair at the comments by the minister of labour and employment, Dr. Chris Ngige wherein said that he is not bothered about the the mass exodus of Nigerian medical doctors to practise elsewhere. ‘I’m not worried, we have surplus (doctors), if we have a surplus, we export’, he said.
This lackadaisical approach and false premise is the official position of the Buhari regime. The minister of health, Isaac Adewole had at the 38th Annual General Meeting and Scientific Conference of the National Association of Resident Doctors of Nigeria, argued that the number of doctors in Nigeria was sufficient, the problem with the health workforce he said was the uneven distribution of doctors. On doctors having to relocate abroad, he said, ‘we can’t all be specialists… Some will be farmers, others politicians. The man who sews my gown [sic] is a doctor. He makes the best gowns…’
ANRP in a statement issued by its spokesman, Sesugh Akume, said this official position of this administration goes contrary to reason and all available facts and evidence. Records citing the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN) indicate that Nigeria has 72,000 registered doctors, with 35,000 practising in the country. The latest World Health Organisation (WHO) report puts the doctor to patient ratio in Nigeria at 1 doctor to 6,325 patients, as against the 1 doctor to 600 patients global standard. This means Nigeria suffers a deficit of more than 250,000 doctors to meet global standards. However sources indicate that an estimated 2,000 doctors emigrate from the country yearly.
The Party lamented that the Federal Government has normalised a situation whereby President Buhari and other top politicians seek medical attention outside Nigeria, in well-organised, well-run systems like the National Health Service (NHS) in the UK, contributed to by thousands of Nigerian doctors forced to leave Nigeria. Majority of Nigerians are left to suffer and die of poor medical care as Nigeria is a country with one of the worst health outcomes in the world.
ANRP calls for a mindset shift on the part of our leaders and for proper value to be placed on the lives of the people, no matter their current estate in life.