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Japa: Nigeria ‘Lost’ 16,000 Doctors Looking For Better Life In Five Years – Minister




Strike: Resident Doctors Hold Crucial Meeting With FG

The Federal Government announced on Sunday that 55,000 licensed doctors are in the country to care for the expanding patient population as health experts leave for hospitals and health institutions overseas.

It stated that in the last five years, the country has lost between 15,000 and 16,000 doctors due to the Japa condition, with approximately 17,000 being transferred.

Making this disclosure while appearing on Channels TV’s Sunday Politics, the Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Prof Ali Pate, lamented that brain drain syndrome has robbed the health sector of its best hands.

Naija News reports that the brain drain issue, commonly referred to as ‘Japa’, has seen a generation of young physicians, health workers, computer entrepreneurs, and other professionals flee Nigeria for greener pastures elsewhere.

However, the minister maintained that, despite Nigeria’s 300,000 health workers, only 55,000 are doctors.

He said, “There are about 300,000 health professionals working in Nigeria today in all cadres. I am talking about doctors, nurses, midwives, pharmacists, laboratory scientists and others. We did an assessment and discovered we have 85,000 to 90,000 registered Nigerian doctors. Not all of them are in the country. Some are in the Diaspora, especially in the US and UK. But there are 55,000 licensed doctors in the country.

“The issue overall, in terms of health professionals, is that they are not enough. They are insufficient in terms of the skills mix. Can you believe most of the high skilled professional doctors are in Lagos, Abuja and a few urban centres? There is a huge distribution issue.

“The population of doctor overall is about 7,600 doctors in Lagos and 4,700 or thereabout in Abuja. The doctor to population ratio in Abuja is 14.7 per 10,000 population. These are numbers that you can verify. In Lagos, it is about 4.6, even though the average is 2.2 by 10,000.

“There are huge distributional issues and they are, of course, the opportunities even for some of those who have been trained to get into the market. So you have to look at it from a perspective that is holistic. Not only doctors but other cadres that are important in the delivery of health care. For doctors, we have been losing many that have been trained.”