Nigeria’s minister of Labour, Chris Ngige, has attracted criticism when he said that medical doctors are permitted to leave for greener pastures abroad, while also suggesting that the country has enough qualified doctors to take care of its patients.
Ngige, who himself is a medical doctor, was speaking on Channel’s TV Sunrise Daily on Wednesday.
“I am not worried (about doctors leaving the country). We have surplus. If you have surplus, you export. It happened some years ago here. I was taught chemistry and biology by Indian teachers in my secondary school days.
“There are surplus in their country and we also have surplus in the medical profession in our country. I can tell you this. In my area, we have excess.
“Who said we don’t have enough doctors? We have more than enough. You can quote me. There is nothing wrong in them travelling out. When they go abroad, they earn money and send them back home here. Yes, we have foreign exchange earnings from them and not just oil.”
But responding to the claims, Ettu Mohammed , a columnist with Sahara Reporters, pointed out that Nigeria doesn’t have enough doctors to go round let alone enough to export to other countries.
Mohammed insinuated that the 24500 currently registered doctors in the country is a far cry from the 320,345 needed to reach the WHO standard of 1:600 physician-to-patient ratio. Currently, the figure is about 1:2353 with Nigeria’s population currently pegged at 190 million.
“Morocco with 35.4 million people have 20 centres to treat 40,000 new cases of cancer every year,” Mohammed said. “They are Located in Casablanca, Rabat, Marrakech, Agadir, Fez, Oujda, and El-Hoceima, 11 of the 20 centers are public (with 9 are private centers).”
“As at today Nigeria with over 197 million people has no public world-class cancer care center that is working to the optimum. Once you are afflicted with it is near the end or look for millions to fly to India via begging on social media.”