The minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, has said that Nigeria has enough doctors to cater for the people but most of them chose to practice in Abuja, Lagos and Port Harcourt.
Mr Ngige said this at the two-day quarterly meeting of the Nigeria Health Commissioners Forum, on Friday, in Abuja.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the two-day forum’s theme was: “Building a stronger health sector in Nigeria through collaboration and strategic partnership”.
The meeting was primarily convened to discuss how to strengthen the health system at the sub-national levels, with an overall objective of achieving Universal Health Coverage, UHC.
Mr Ngige said Nigeria as a developing country was unlikely to meet the recommendation of the United Nations and the World Health Organisation’s ratio of one doctor to 600 patients.
The minister 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.
“So, almost everybody has come to Abuja, Lagos and Port Harcourt to stay. And we have 10,000 primary care centres that are unmanned as at the last count.”
Akin Abayomi, Lagos State Commissioner for Health, called on state’s governors to create an enabling environment for physicians in their states.
Mr Abayomi said that there were more than 20,000 Nigerian born physicians outside the country doing extremely well.