The Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) has raised the alarm over the low ratio of medical doctors to patients in the country.
Mike Ogirima, President of the Association, expressed the concern in an interview on Thursday.
He said at the moment, Nigeria had a ratio of one medical doctor to 6000 people, noting that this grossly inadequate especially going by the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommendation of one doctor to 600 people in a community.
The President of the Association said currently, there were about 45,000 medical doctors in the country with an estimated population of 170 million.
He said it was, therefore, ironical that Nigeria, with such a poor ratio, could not afford to absorb products from her medical schools. He argued that many medical doctors were without jobs while many others had gone to seek succour in other countries.
“We have almost 3000 medical doctors being produced annually by medical schools. But we do not have the facility to absorb all of them,” he said.
“If we don’t have the facilities then government needs to get the facilities in place to absorb the number of the medical doctors we produce.”
According to him, the house officers (those rounding off their training in medical schools) lack places to do their one-year compulsory training in the country.
“Some of them have to wait for two years or three before they can get a placement. After their youth service, they often have nowhere to be engaged and this is not to say that we do not need them. There is no fund to employ them even in private hospitals,” he said.
“This was not happening in the past and, therefore, government needs to do something to redress the situation.”
Ogirima said these were some of the reasons why many members of the association had been seeking for greener pasture outside the country.