May 24, 2024

FG raises medical, nursing schools enrolment to 64,000

Prof. Ali Pate

The enrolment quota for medical, nursing and other health schools has been increased from 28,000 to 64,000 in the last one year, Prof. Ali Pate, Minister of Health and Social Welfare, has disclosed.

Pate disclosed this on Friday in Abuja at a Ministerial Sectoral Briefing ahead of President Bola Tinubu’s first anniversary on May 29.

The News Agency of Nigeria(NAN), reports that health workers in Nigeria have continued to move abroad, citing inadequate equipment, insecurity, poor working conditions and low salaries.

Between 2019 and 2023, more than 1,000 medical consultants left the country. Further statistics show that more than 900 resident doctors moved to Europe in the first nine months of 2023.

To mitigate the situation, Pate said that government is addressing the issue by increasing the enrolment quotas to produce more healthcare workers.

He emphasised the need for the education sector and state governments to enhance infrastructure, training and tools to support this increase.

The minister said that 1,400 Primary Healthcare Centres (PHCs) now have skilled birth attendants, with more than 2,400 health workers recruited to serve in rural areas.

Pate said the government had disbursed N25 billion from the Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF) to 23 states through the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), and the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA).

He said the remaining states were in the process of meeting the requirements to receive their allocations.

The Minister of State for Health, Dr Tunji Alausa, had earlier disclosed that the Federal Government was putting in place plans and strategies to increase the population of medical and dental doctors from 5,000 to 10,000.

NAN reports that this will commence from the next academic year with the increase in admissions into medical and dental institutions.

Alausa said the mass exodus of licensed doctors and other health professionals to more developed countries would be discouraged by making the healthcare environment more attractive.

“Equally, we will expand these opportunities to all other health professionals like pharmacists, nurses, physiotherapists, community health extension workers, radiographers and others. It will be in phases.

“We shall create room to produce more and excess because globally, there is shortage of health manpower; the shortage is estimated at 18 million personnel,” he stated.

According to him, Nigeria produces just 3,000 doctors annually.

“This is grossly inadequate; we need to increase the rate of production of health workers,” he said.

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