November 2015 NewTelegraphOnline; Chairman, Association of Colleges of Medicine of Nigeria (ACMN), Professor Folasade Ogunsole, has said an average of 277,000 doctors would be required in Nigeria, to meet up with the World Health Organisation’s(WHO) benchmark of one doctor to six hundred patients.
She said at the moment about 35,000 doctors are currently employed in the country to care for the teaming population. A situation, she noted would be an herculean task to meet the WHO benchmark several years from now.
According to Professor Ogunsole, it would take Nigeria approximately 100 years to meet the WHO standard, even if all medical graduates were barred from migrating abroad or persuaded to remain in the profession and practice locally.
She gave this observation in Abuja on Monday, at the opening of a 3-Day Capacity Development Programme for MBBS Academic Staff In Nigerian Universities.
“As the situation stands Nigeria would need about 277,000 doctors to be able to meet up with WHO requirements and only about 35,000 doctors are currently working in the country,”she said.
She argued that the Medical Schools across the country had trained more than the required number of doctors to meet the stipulated benchmark but that majority of them are either practising outside the country or have changed profession.
Her words: “Medicine is about life, it is the duty of Medical school to produce people with competency and skills that can manage patients when they come out. And it is also a necessity and it has been worked out that for any country to have enough doctors to actually manage their population, WHO came up with some ratio, I think it is 1:600.
“Today, we have about 35,000 doctors practising in the country. We looked at it and the number coming out of our Medical schools every year, it will take us about hundred years to have the numbers we need.
“Currently, Medical schools have quotas. And what are these quotas? The number of students they can take. Some people wonder why. And the why is that we have to train them to be competent and you can only train within the facility that is available.
“Medical and Dental Council for example will register a doctor and say you can go out and handle life. It is our duty to ensure that the person they were registering had been adequately trained. NUC makes sure that the universities are adequately up to it so that we will be able to bring out the kind of doctors and dentists we need.
“We have to rethink how we are funding our medical schools. Medical schools are not just about lectures because immediately they leave, we say trust them with your life. How do we fund medical schools especially in the dwindling fortunes.