By Gabriel Olawale & Gloria Orogun
Contrary to the recommendations of the World Health Organisation, WHO, of one doctor to 600 patients, Nigeria currently has a ratio of one doctor to 6,000 patients.

The Head of the Ear, Nose and Throat, ENT, Department, University of Abuja, Professor Titus Ibekwe, disclosed this yesterday, decrying the poor doctor-patient ratio.

He noted that it does not augur well for healthcare delivery in the country.

Ibekwe, former Vice President of Nigeria Medical Association, NMA, remarked that medical personnel in Nigeria were constantly overwhelmed by the large number of patients as the doctor to patient ratio was out of tune with the WHO recommendation.

He pointed out that to worsen the situation, a lot of healthcare facilities in the country are outdated while many are also dilapidated.

“Today as we speak, the current WHO performance rating places Nigeria 187th out of 191 nations. That is really deplorable and not expected of the giant of Africa. The WHO recommends a minimum of one doctor to 600 patients but recent analysis carried out by the NMA shows that in Nigeria, one doctor is attending to 6,000 patients.

“Another issue is healthcare financing. In 2001, right here in Abuja, all the African Heads of State gathered and came up with a resolution which was applauded by WHO and the United Nations that they will dedicate 15 percent of their country’s annual budgets to health, but since then till today, the best we have achieved is six percent.

“In the 2017 national budget, the allocation to health is 4.1 per cent while in 2016 it was 4.4 per cent and we are talking of minimum of 15 per cent to achieve basic medical care that a citizen needs.

“The National Health Act took the country 10 years before it was passed and this is three years after its passage, implementation has  not commenced and every year one million children die, 56,000 women die from issues around pregnancy. Nigeria still rank number one in issue of HIV/AIDs, second in woman that died from pregnancy-related causes, one in childhood death and tuberculosis,” he said.

Ibekwe called for proper planning and strong political commitment as the only way to turn the trend round.

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