The Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, has said that as a developing country, Nigeria is unlikely to meet the recommendation of the United Nations and the World Health Organisation’s ratio of one doctor to 600 patients.
The News Agency Of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Ngige said this at the two-day quarterly meeting of the Nigeria Health Commissioners Forum on Friday, in Abuja.
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.
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. 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 3,000; before the private universities came, a lot of them are not doing medicine, including Afe Babalola and others.
“We are now in about 4,000 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 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 of the last count.