Thursday, 26 January 2017

One doctor still attends to 6,000 patients in Nigeria – Don

Contrary to the recommendations of the World
Health Organisation, WHO, of one doctor to 600
patients, Nigeria currently has a ratio of one
doctor to 6,000 patients.
The Head of the Ear, Nose and Throat, ENT,
Department, University of Abuja, Professor
Titus Ibekwe, disclosed this yesterday, decrying
the poor doctor-patient ratio.
He noted that it does not augur well for
healthcare delivery in the country.
Ibekwe, former Vice President of Nigeria
Medical Association, NMA, remarked that
medical personnel in Nigeria were constantly
overwhelmed by the large number of patients
as the doctor to patient ratio was out of tune
with the WHO recommendation.
He pointed out that to worsen the situation, a
lot of healthcare facilities in the country are
outdated while many are also dilapidated.
“Today as we speak, the current WHO
performance rating places Nigeria 187th out of
191 nations. That is really deplorable and not
expected of the giant of Africa. The WHO
recommends a minimum of one doctor to 600
patients but recent analysis carried out by the
NMA shows that in Nigeria, one doctor is
attending to 6,000 patients.
“Another issue is healthcare financing. In 2001,
right here in Abuja, all the African Heads of
State gathered and came up with a resolution
which was applauded by WHO and the United
Nations that they will dedicate 15 percent of
their country’s annual budgets to health, but
since then till today, the best we have achieved
is six percent.
“In the 2017 national budget, the allocation to
health is 4.1 per cent while in 2016 it was 4.4
per cent and we are talking of minimum of 15
per cent to achieve basic medical care that a
citizen needs.
“The National Health Act took the country 10
years before it was passed and this is three
years after its passage, implementation has
not commenced and every year one million
children die, 56,000 women die from issues
around pregnancy. Nigeria still rank number
one in issue of HIV/AIDs, second in woman that
died from pregnancy-related causes, one in
childhood death and tuberculosis,” he said.
Ibekwe called for proper planning and strong
political commitment as the only way to turn
the trend round.