Thursday, April 18, 2024

One Doctor In Niger Treats About 40,000 Patients – NMA 

Due to the mass exodus of healthcare practitioners from the state, one doctor now treats about 40,000 patients, according to Dr Yusuf Mohammed, the Niger State Chairman of the Nigerian Medical Association.

He disclosed this in an interview obtained by LN247, noting that healthcare delivery in the state had been negatively impacted by the migration of healthcare workers to other states and outside the country.

According to reports, in 2023, over 1,417 resident doctors moved to the United Kingdom and the United States of America.

The Medical and Dental Consultants Association of Nigeria also stated that nine out of every 10 medical and dental consultants were leaving the country.

The NMA Chairman has also lamented that the mass exodus of doctors and other health workers had increased workload, leading to burnout in the remaining health practitioners and the closure of several hospital wards and theatres.

The Niger state NMA chair further noted that the situation in the state was dire as the less than 40,000 doctors are not enough to attend to the needs of the constantly increasing population.

Read Also: Brain Drain: LASUTH Treats 10,000 Patients Daily – CMD

He said, “The quality, effective and efficient healthcare delivery that we are supposed to give to the people as healthcare workers will not be optimal. The few people remaining will be doing the work many are supposed to do. As this continues, burnout syndrome will set in because we are all humans and not machines or robots.”

Although Mohammed did not give an exact figure of the current doctors left in the state, he mentioned that “we don’t have enough. Many doctors leave the state to places with better offers and as a result, we have fewer doctors.

“By WHO standards, it is one doctor to 600 patients in every community but in Niger State, as of 2022, we have one doctor to 31,600 patients. We have inadequate manpower to cater to the healthcare delivery in the state.”

The Niger State NMA chairman added that the desire for a pay rise, good working conditions and adequate security were other factors that led to the exit of doctors, especially specialists.

He explained, “The pull factor is the attractive opportunities in other places that can make them leave where they are working to go there. The push factor may be circumstances such as working conditions and insecurity. The insecurity situation is not peculiar to Niger State and affects everyone. One can’t guarantee 100 per cent commitment in a workplace where there is no sufficient protection of lives and properties. Security is paramount in healthcare delivery.”

Mohammed urged the government to continue to provide adequate security to the health institutions in the state.

The doctor further commended the remaining healthcare workers in the state who he said, “put in their best and give the patient their best as they come to the health facilities despite not getting what they want.”

Speaking on the demands of the association from the government, Mohammed said, “We have the following demands from the government, which we have informed them about and we trust that this new administration will have a listening ear and meet our demands.

“One is the issue of manpower. We want the government to address the issue of manpower. Not just by employing people alone, there must be incentives that will attract them to the service of the Niger State Government, these are the things other states are doing.

“We have few doctors in the country and the few that remain, other states are trying to see how to get them. It’ll now be a case of the survival of the fittest. We want Niger State to be at the forefront and to have the best scheme for healthcare workers that would attract others to the state. This will happen through remuneration and a retention policy such as giving of housing, car loans and other incentives.

“Our healthcare facilities must be well protected. The government is working on it but we ask that they should do more. The social amenities that are supposed to be in the facilities, such as constant water and power supply, if available, would make everyone feel comfortable at work and encourage them to stay.

“Also, if consulting rooms, clinics, theatres and hospital areas are in order, the healthcare workers would be more committed to work and the burnout syndrome will reduce.”

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