Nigeria is planning to double the population of its medical and dental doctors from 5,000 to 10,000 by the next academic year, the Minister of State for Health and Social Welfare, Dr Tunji Alausa, said on Wednesday.
The government will do this by increasing admission into medical and dental institutions, Alausa said at the induction ceremony of foreign-trained medical and dental graduates by the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria in Abuja.
Alausa also said that the government is working to discourage the exodus of licensed doctors and other health professionals to more developed countries by making the healthcare environment more attractive.
The just over 3,000 doctors produced annually in Nigeria remain grossly inadequate, hence the need to double the rate of production of health workers, Alausa said.
“Equally, we shall expand these opportunities to all other health professionals like pharmacists, nurses, physiotherapists, community health extension workers, radiographers, and others,” he said. “Although, this will be in phases. We shall create room to produce more and excess because globally, there’s a shortage of health manpower, estimated at a shortage of 18 million people.”
Alausa said his ministry would continue to advocate for more funding for the health sector and increase the value chain to attract more international grants and funding.
Nigeria’s healthcare system faces several challenges, including a shortage of doctors and other health workers, poor infrastructure, and inadequate funding. The government’s plan to double the number of medical and dental doctors is a welcome step, but it remains to be seen whether it will be successful.