Does Nigeria have enough doctors in the current global pandemic?

By Aliyu Nuhu

To answer this question one needs to do some arithmetic. First we need to know how many people live in Nigeria before we can calculate the doctor/patient ratio. The problem is no one knows the precise number of people living in Nigeria. It takes seconds to add a living person in Nigeria while it takes decades to produce a doctor.

Even at conservative figure of 180m, Nigeria has one of the worst doctor/patients ratio in the world. There are 72,000 doctors registered with the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN); but over half practise outside the country. This figure is as at Apr 8, 2019. Still many of them leave the country without notice due to poor salaries and working condition.

By conservative counts,there is one doctor to 5803 patients if half of that 72,000 doctors leave Nigeria.

Meanwhile our continental rival South Africa has one doctor to 1250 patients. India with its 1.3billion population has 1000 patients to one doctor. Meanwhile WHO benchmark is 600 patients to a doctor with serious nations performing better than WHO benchmark. UK for instance has 357 patients to a doctor.

Ghana has 8000 patients to a doctor but with its leaders acknowledging the deficit, unlike our leaders,Ghana is on its way to improving the figure.


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