The Chairman of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) in Rivers, Ibifuro Green, has decried the shortage of doctors and nurses in the country and called for massive upgrading of personnel in the healthcare sector.
Dr Green said in Port Harcourt on Monday that the ratio of doctors to patients in the country was one to 4,000. “The World Health Organisation (WHO) has recommended that one doctor should attend to not more than 600 patients but the ratio in Nigeria is one doctor to about 4,000 patients,” he said.
“The ratio is even worse with nurses; the nurse–patient ratio compared to doctors is even worse because you should have one nurse attending to about four patients. When you work out the ratio, you know why nurses are always badly painted in public hospitals because they are not enough.
According to him, the number of nurses is inadequate in the country’s public hospitals as one nurse attends to 31 patients.
“We need massive upgrading of personnel in the healthcare industry; there are some categories of personnel we need that are not available at all; the biomedical engineers for example,” he said. “In India, you have biomedical engineers who go round the wards two times a week, checking out the trolleys, checking out the doors and closing them and so on.
In the theatres, before a surgeon goes in to operate, they (engineers) have to check out the instruments and okay them; they do that on a daily basis and they are around within the theatre environment. We buy state-of –the- art equipment, use them for six months and when they break down, nobody is there to fix them; these are the things we go through.”
He noted that the situation was getting worse as doctors were now migrating overseas for greener pastures and job satisfaction.