One Doctor Attending To 4,000 Nigerians – Ex-NMA President

The former President, Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), Dr Osahon Enabulele, on Friday said President Muhammadu Buhari is not motivating Nigerian doctors to stay at home and practice due to his love for foreign medical trips.

Enabulele, who is a member of, Executive Committee of the World Medical Association stated this while featuring as a guest on Channels Television monitored by DAILY INDEPENDENT.

Lamenting the high cases of brain waves in the country, Enabulele said based on the depleting numbers of healthcare workers in the country, one doctor is currently attending to 4, 000 Nigerians as against the ratio of the WHO which recommends one doctor to 600 population.

He said given President Buhari’s penchant for foreign medical treatment, many Nigerians who are at home here will feel less valued and will be desperate to travel abroad so that they can have the opportunity to treat their President.

To the issue of brain drain, it is not enough to say that you are investing in training. Beyond training, how are you investing in the retention mechanism? Because the issue of health workforce is about production, retention and of course, motivation. So, the issue of production is there, we are not producing enough.

“So, how are we investing in the health production capacity in terms of institutional framework for producing a health personnel? Today in the health sector, we need over 250,000 medical doctors to meet with the ratio of one doctor to 600 population prescribed by the World body.

Nigeria today is revolving around one doctor to 4, 000 population. That cannot impact useful health outcomes. That cannot drive useful health outcomes. So, how are we producing? Even those that are produced, how are we training and retraining them? How are we retaining them?

Look at what is happening now that has prompted this industrial action. People even want to come into the health system but the recruitment process is so defective. People can’t even employ because you have to apply for waivers. Such bureaucratic red-tapism and administrative shenanigans is not helping the development of medical manpower in our country.

“So, what motivational mechanism do we have on the ground? As I speak to you now, the environment is so defective largely. The working conditions are very pitiable and of course, buoyed by the issue of insecurity which affects all Nigerians.

Nobody needs to spend time going through a very rigorous profession like medicine only to come tomorrow and you are kidnapped and all your little savings are released to kidnappers.

Once you are free from the stranglehold of the kidnappers, the next thing you think of is how to survive. And there are people who have alluring mechanisms coming into Nigeria to attract those healthcare workers. So, the push and pull factors need to be engaged by the government. There are factors that are pushing our doctors, including the working conditions, the poor uncompetitive wages, the insecurity issues and of course, the attractive pull factors from other places.

“Even in the midst of COVID, you saw the UK government emplacing very attractive programmes for healthcare workers all over the world in the phase of Brexit. Who will not get attracted to that?

“For those of us who are even straining ourselves to remain in our country, I think we should be appreciated. But that is not even being done because rather than patronizing Nigerian health professionals, our government is patronizing those abroad”.

“It further tells me that I am not even valued in my own country. So perhaps the best place to be valued is to go abroad where I will have the opportunity to treat my President because that also gives you some level of professional esteem,” he said.

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