The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) has expressed concern over shortage of doctors in Jigawa, with the current ratio of one doctor to 21,000 patients in the state.
The NMA Chairman in the state, Dr Aminu Abdullahi, who disclosed this in a statement on Saturday to commemorate the 2023 Physicians Week, said “Jigawa has the highest record of brain drain in the country.”
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) standard is one doctor to 600 patients.
The chairman, therefore, lamented how brain drain negatively hit the state, which allocated 16 per cent of its 2023 annual budget to the health sector.
He said that the association is worried about the sad development.
“This is because ours is a bi-directional bran drain, both within the country, that’s to other states of federation and outside the country.
“We have about 350 doctors working in both state and federal health facilities.
“The NMA chapter in Jigawa has 350 doctors catering for seven million people in the state.
“Currently, the doctor/patient ratio in Jigawa stands at about 1: 21,000, against the WHO standard of 1/600 patients.
“The ratio is similar to that of nurses and other health workers in the state. This is one of the worst ratios in the country, which will significantly affect our health indices.
“It is also worthy of note that Jigawa was among the early states to implement CONMESS and CONHESS salary structure for healthcare workforce back in 2011, which made it one of the highest paid states in the country back then.
“The current challenges bevelling the health sector as a whole honestly call for sincere, deliberate and fact guided discussions concerning our healthcare delivery system.
“With the current economic realities the nation is going through, there is no better time to make the healthcare delivery system in our dear state more efficient and responsive than now.”
The NMA chairman said that the theme of the 2023 Pysicians Week — “This is our chance to get it right in the health sector” and the sub-themes “The Abuja Declaration 22 years after” and “Ethical issues in human organ donation” — are in tune with the current realities in the health sector.