Minister Reveals Nigeria's Loss of 16,000 Doctors in Search of Better Opportunities Over Five Years

Minister Reveals Nigeria’s Loss of 16,000 Doctors in Search of Better Opportunities Over Five Years

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During an appearance on Channels TV’s Sunday Politics, the Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Prof Ali Pate, disclosed a concerning trend: Nigeria has witnessed the departure of approximately 15,000 to 16,000 doctors in the past five years, primarily due to the allure of better prospects abroad. Additionally, around 17,000 doctors have been relocated.

Prof Pate expressed deep concern over the brain drain syndrome, commonly known as ‘Japa’, which has deprived Nigeria’s health sector of its most skilled professionals. This phenomenon isn’t limited to medical practitioners but also includes young professionals across various fields seeking opportunities outside Nigeria.

Despite Nigeria boasting around 300,000 health workers, only 55,000 are doctors, according to the minister. He highlighted the uneven distribution of medical professionals, with the majority concentrated in urban centers like Lagos and Abuja. This skewed distribution poses significant challenges, with approximately 7,600 doctors in Lagos and 4,700 in Abuja, leading to doctor-to-population ratios that vary widely across regions.

In Abuja, the ratio stands at 14.7 doctors per 10,000 population, whereas in Lagos, it’s approximately 4.6 per 10,000. These statistics underscore the urgent need for a more equitable distribution of healthcare professionals to ensure adequate access to medical services nationwide.

The minister emphasized the holistic nature of the issue, stressing the importance of addressing not only the shortage of doctors but also the imbalance in the distribution of healthcare workers across the country. He reiterated the significant loss of trained professionals and the pressing need for comprehensive solutions to retain and attract skilled talent within Nigeria’s healthcare system.

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