Shocking Nigeria has only 9,000 doctors serving 160 million people - Medical body chief says

Explaining further, he said the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN) has in its register 65,000 doctors, out of which, 40,000 were practicing in Diaspora.

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Dr. Jimmy Arigbabuwo, the chairman of the Association of General and Private Medical Practitioners of Nigeria (AGPMPN) has said there are only 9,000 doctors serving over 160million people in Nigeria.

Arigbabuwo made this known at an event held in commemoration of the World Family Doctors Day recently.

Explaining further, he said the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN) has in its register 65,000 doctors, out of which, 40,000 were practicing in Diaspora.

Out of the 25,000 doctors currently practicing in the country, 16,000 were resident doctors who may decide to leave at the completion of their training, leaving the country with only 9,000 doctors.

In addition most of the doctors were concentrated in the urban areas  where the rich who could afford medical tourism reside, leaving the rural areas vulnerable.

Also revealed at the event, the Society of Family Physicians of Nigeria (SOFPON) and its sister body, the Association of General and Private Medical Practitioners of Nigeria (AGPMPN) said that only Family Medicine can truly guarantee the reduction of mortality rate in the country.

According to the group, this was so because family physicians were more closer to the people than other specialties in medicine.

Speaking at a joint press conference to mark the event, the Vice Chairman, SOFPON, Lagos zone, Dr. Ayaode Adedokun, stressed the importance of family medicine to actualising the country’s target in delivering world standard healthcare to Nigerians.

Adedokun said the mortality rate in the country would improve if all primary health centres in the country were manned by family physicians.

He pointed out that there are only about 400 family physicians in the country, which he noted were not enough to cater for the over 80 per cent of patients in the country who patronise private health facilities and primary health centres.

He also added that “most people do not allow their wives to deliver in primary health centres because they believe there are no family physicians in such centres. And some patients would rather travel several hours to cities just to get healthcare because they know that the primary health centres in their rural areas do not have family physicians who can attend to them,”

The physician also quoted recent research which suggested that reduction of mortality rate was not mainly in relation to how many health professionals were being trained but that it was more dependent on how many family physicians were available.

According to him, currently a child under five dies every two minutes in Sub-Sahara Africa, including Nigeria, because stakeholders were neglecting the real specialty that could curb the menace.

Adedokun encouraged young doctors to specialise in family medicine as they are the closest health professionals to families and patients, while calling on the government to give priority to the training of family physicians in the country.

 

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