Nigeria has less than 36,000 doctors attending to over 182 million patients. A medical expert of Health Policy/ Systems Development Unit Department of Community Medicine, Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital, Dr. Jubril Mohammad Bashar, has disclosed
Bashar disclosed this at a one-day capacity building workshop on Basic Healthcare Funding in Nigeria for the media organised by Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) which was held recently at Chesterfield Hotel, Ikeja, Lagos.
According to Bashar, Nigeria needs no fewer than 237,000 medical doctors to meet World Health Organisation (WHO) standard, as opposed to the “36,000 working in the country today.”
To corroborate this fact Dr. Bashar cited example of Jigawa State which has the highest number of health workers in Nigeria but 92% of them are auxiliary nurses, laboratory attendants and cleaners, while Kaduna State has more of ghost doctors and ghost hospitals.
Bashar, who spoke on Financing for Primary Healthcare: Harnessing Domestic Funding Opportunities, Enabling Policies and Legislation, pointed out that lack of success in achieving health care financing has continued to be a challenge in achieving universal health care in Nigeria.
“The health of any nation is very vital to the development of that country. Therefore, for any country to develop, the health care sector must be adequately funded,” he said.
In his address, the Executive Director CISLAC, Mallam Auwal Ibrahim Musa, pointed out that the ultimate goal of the project is to promote policy implementation of government’s commitment to primary health care in Nigeria.
Investigative journalism in the words of the Programme Manager CISLAC, Chioma Kalu, may be challenging and constrained by finances, access to information, threats from individuals or society but it is highly rewarding for journalists in that it propels them to levels where others cannot get. They may even get international acclaims and awards.
“Investigative journalism is the panacea towards rebuilding our primary health care. It will bring about accessibility and attendance to health centres. It may also reduce cost, thereby enhance affordability,” Kalu said.
At the end of the workshop, participants recommended the following: Full-fledged community consultation in planning and processes establishing primary health care to enable ownership, attendance and monitoring; Strategic community-oriented advocacy in demanding accountability from the policy and legislative realms; among others.