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Nigeria Ranked 7th Among Countries Facing Shortage of Health Workers

Nigeria is ranked 7th among 57 countries classified as facing a critical shortage of health workers, it was learnt Tuesday.
According to the Minister of Health, Prof Isaac Adewole the country has a shortage of 144,000 health workers. Nigeria is ranked second in Africa behind Ethiopia with 152,000.

Presently, the country boasts of 240,000 nurses and midwives and by 2030 the country will be needing 149,852 doctors and 471,353 nurses and midwives.

He spoke yesterday in Abuja at the occasion marking the International Day of the Midwife 2017, with the theme, “strengthening midwifery preservice training in Nigeria “midwives, mothers and families: partners for life”

The minister said only 99,120 doctors and 333,494 nurses and midwives will be available by 2030.

He therefore warned that the shortfall will make the co try health system vulnerable if there is no urgent and concrete plan to address the situation.

This the minister also linked to the high rate of maternal and child mortality in the country.

The minister also decried the distribution of health workers in the country, which according to him was skewed in favour of urban areas, with more than 50 per cent of the health workers.

He however assured Nigerians that the Midwives Service Scheme launched in 2009 will be modified to make it more effective, while at the same time ensure regular review of the curriculum of school of midwifery in the country.

He said, “human resources for health issues in Nigeria contribute to poor population health in the country, alongside threats from terrorism, infectious disease outbreaks, and political corruption.

Health inequities within Nigeria mirror the geographical disparities in human resources for health distribution and are worsened by the emigration of Nigerian nurses to developed countries such as the United States and the United Kingdom. Nigerian nurses are motivated to emigrate to work in healthier work environments, improve their economic prospects, and advance their careers.

“In 2006 the World Health Organization’s World Health Report defined 57 countries facing a critical shortage of health workers—those with fewer than 2.3 doctors, nurses, and midwives per 1,000 population. Against that ratio, Nigeria reported a shortage of nearly 40,000 health workers. The new data may indicate that Nigeria’s shortage is closer to 144,000—over three times the amount reported in 2006. This would be the seventh highest shortage of the 57 crisis countries. In Africa, only Ethiopia reported a higher shortage of 152,000 health workers.

“Until recently, records from the Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria indicated that there were around 240,000 qualified nurses and midwives within the country. Additionally, given limitations in available workforce data within the country, the council’s data on active registration remain the most reliable proxy for determining the combined number of qualified and available nurses and midwives in Nigeria, across both the public and private sectors.

“According to a projection estimates from scientific modelling by Adebayo et al in 2016, Nigeria will need approximately 149,852 doctors and 471,353 nurses by the year 2030. With the available growth rate of Doctors/Nurses, by this same period only 99,120 doctors and 333,494 nurses will be available. This implies a shortage of about 50,120 doctors and 137,859 nurses. This translates to 33.45% gap in doctors’ supply and 29.25% gap in nurses’ supply. This shortfall will make the country health system vulnerable if there is no urgent and concrete plan to address the situation.

“Apart from the shortage, health workers are poorly distributed and in favour of urban, southern, tertiary health care services delivery, and curative care. For some cadres of health workers more than 50% work in the South Western part of the country with the majority living in the commercial city of Lagos. Efforts have been made to make health workers available in the rural areas. About 60% of the states in Nigeria, provide rural incentives to health workers that volunteer to serve in the rural areas, while others make rural service a condition for some critical promotion. There is the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) that is mandatory for all new university and polytechnic graduates in Nigeria. The introduction of national service for freshly graduated midwives will address some of the shortages of human resource in the country.”
Wife of the President of the Senate, Mrs. Toyin Saraki in her goodwill message said the I pittance of primary healthcare cannot be over emphasized.

She said, “We cannot over emphasise the importance of Primary health care in the delivery of cost effective and high impact health outcomes for our mothers and their babies, including strengthening health and health-related systems. We know that an efficient and effective PHC systems is one that can cater to between 70-80% of the healthcare and health service needs of people, and as close to the people’s living and working locations. The move to ensure the revitalization and full functionality of PHCs across Nigeria, will also help cater to the professional needs of midwives especially in regions where mothers have been unable to access quality health care due to distance or an absence of skilled health workers.”

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