The Ogun State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Tomi Coker, has lamented the dearth of medical personnel in Nigeria, saying Nigeria needs 300,000 doctors to render effective medical services to Nigerians.
Coker said this at the International Healthcare Conference and Exhibition organized by Katherine Oxford Ltd in collaboration with Ace Medicine Clinics and held at the Conference Centre, Covenant University, Ogun State.
Mentoring in the Healthcare Sector for Sustainable Development brings together, among others, medical doctors, pharmacists, laboratory technicians, nurses, and students.
She said that out of the 80,000 registered doctors in Nigeria, about 40,000 are not in Nigeria, another 8,000 are in the United Kingdom, and another 4,000 are Americans.
She said that the brain drain in the medical sector must be critically looked into by all stakeholders because our system urgently needs 300,000 medical personnel to meet its health needs.
Coker, who has represented the Medical Director of Ota General Hospital, Dr. Somade Taofeek, pointed out that the health care system is under considerable pressure and thus mentorship in the sector for suitability is apt and imperative.
She said a mentor is more than a coach, helps to build trust and model positive behavior, and must be dependable and tuned in to the needs of the mentor.
Mentors train, advise, and counsel. Mentorship enhances social capital, which can be measured in value in both tangible and intangible resources.
In his presentation, the Commissioner for Health of Maryland, United States of America, Professor Abimbola Akintade, said that Nigeria spends around $1.4 billion a year on medical treatment abroad by four key specialists: oncology, orthopedics, nephrology, and cardiology.
Akintade continues. Nigeria is high on the medical tourism lists of patients going to international countries for medical attention.
He highlighted the health care shortage, which is between 25 and 35,000 medical doctors in Nigeria, and said the average doctor-to-patient ratio is 1:5,000 and the average nurse-to-patient ratio is 1:3,000.
He took a swipe at the task-shifting model in the health sector, where nurses and other health workers are having tasks shifted to them that they don’t have the proper training to do safely and effectively.
He went further to appreciate some effort put in place to keep the sector up and running and said that more needs to be done in the areas of investment, infrastructure, and incentives for healthcare providers.
Also speaking at the event, the Chief Executive Officer of Katherine Oxford, Mrs. Monique Gershon, said the program was put together as a platform where innovative solutions will be shared and an interesting discussion will be sparked with the objective of motivating healthcare providers, most of whom are about to leave the country.