We need Additional 155,000 Medical Doctors to Achieve Universal Health Coverage

No fewer than 155,000 additional doctors at the ratio of one doctor to 1,000 people would be needed in Nigeria to achieve the Universal Health Coverage (UHC). This was said by the Provost, College of Medicine and Health Sciences, Federal University Dutse, Prof. Usman Ahmed, who said this is to make more people have access to healthcare. Ahmed, who is also a professor of health sciences, University of Manchester, UK, made this known on Tuesday in Abuja that data from the Federal Ministry of Health shows that there were 45,000 doctors registered and practicing in Nigeria, which is a ratio of one doctor to 4,008 people. He said, “Even if we take it as one doctor to 4,000 people and we want to have UHC, meaning a minimum of one doctor to 1,000 people, we will need to have at least 200,000 doctors in Nigeria today. It also means that we will need nearly a million nurses because for each doctor we need several other nurses, physiotherapist, occupational therapist, audiologist etc. and we don’t have them complete in Nigeria. If we use WHO’s recommendation, we may need more than 155,000 doctors today.” The don recommended one doctor to 1,000 people to replicate a model used in India, adding that India has 840,000 doctors in a ratio of one doctor to 1,800 people. He said the Indian Universal Health Care Commission recommended that the country should migrate from one doctor to 1,800 people to one doctor to 1,000 people to UHC. Ahmed has therefore said: “If we want to look after ourselves, we need to be serious about UHC through remodeling the National Health Insurance Scheme Act and the National Health Act 2014.”

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