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“There are 39,000 doctors for 150 million people in Nigeria” – Expert
Chairman of Kogi chapter of Environmental Health Officers Association of Nigeria (EHOAN), Mr Solomon Anyegwu has identified inadequate health personnel as the bane of sustainable healthcare delivery in the country.
Anyegwu in an interview with journalists on Thursday said that the aggression expressed by some medical personnel some times, was due to overbearing workload arising from too many patients.
He said that statistics had shown that in most public hospitals, one doctor attended to over 200 patients saying that in the year 2000, the country could only boast of about 39,000 medical doctors saddled with responsibility of managing about 150 million people.
The World health Organisation (WHO) standard ratio, he said was one doctor to a community of about 600 people while the nurses ratio stood at one nurse to four patients and one environmental officer to 8,000 people.
The chairman added that facilities in most health institutions in the country were equally over-stretched due to overwhelming demand for medical services among other factors like corruption, greed and unfaithfulness.
Anyegwu regretted that rather than seeing healthcare delivery as a humanitarian gesture as in most advanced nations of the world, healthcare providers in the country were more concerned with money making.
He said, “In more civilized countries, healthcare is humanitarian, therefore, professionals there also carryout their duties believing is it more of a calling than personal aggrandizement.
“The patient should be central to any health policy” he said, adding that health care delivery should be on purpose (to save lives) rather than monetary gains.
The EHOAN chairman said in many hospitals and clinics, professional attention to patients was lacking due to what he described as delegation of responsibilities to junior officers lacking in necessary professional training and skills.
“Delegating medical services to health workers that lack the necessary training and skills is tantamount to quackery and commission of professional errors with inherent destruction of valuable lives”, he said.
Rather than engaging in psychotherapy and etiquette-conscious counseling, attitudinal problems among personnel in public health institutions, he said had further endangered the lives of patients in critical conditions.
Anyegwu therefore, called on government, employers and workers in the health sector to have a change of attitude towards healthcare delivery and place emphasis first on live saving before other considerations.