…As maternal mortality remains high
By Ignatius Okorocha
Revelations emerged Monday in Abuja that Nigeria has only 35, 000 practising Medical Doctors out of the registered 72,000 .
Senators and some stakeholders bemoaned the situation in the health sector during Public Hearing session on Bills seeking for establishments of health related Institutions , Council and Development Fund organised by the Senate Committthe on Health .
Specifically, the sponsor of the bill seeking for establishment of Federal University of Health Sciences in Otukpo , Benue State , Senator Abba Moro ( PDP Benue South), said the University was very necessary in joining other ones across the country for training of medical doctors whose number in the country presently, is abysmally low compared to large population seeking for healthcare services .
“From available statistics, we have 72000 registered medical doctors in Nigeria and out of this , only 35, 000 are practicing.
“The implication is that only that number is superintending over the health of over 200m Nigerians.
” This is ridiculous for a country in the 21st century. It is scary. By 2017 JAMB came declared that of all the Nigerian children that applied for medicine and other allied programs, they could only admit 20%, meaning that 80% of Nigerians waiting to read medicine were left out because they don’t have space.
“This is what the University of Health Sciences will bridge, create more spaces for Nigerian students to read medicine and other allied personnel in to the medical market. I think this bill is very significant, establishment of the institution is also very important, at the end Nigerians will benefit from it and it will improve our health sector ” , he said .
He added that though the bill was sponsored , considered and passed during the 8th National Assembly but was unable to be transmitted to the President for assent before the expiration of tenure of the Assembly.
Making similar submission, the Director / Head , Family Health Department Abuja , Dr Awas – Kolo , said as a result of inadequate manpower in the sector and required facilities / quipments , high rate of maternal and pre- natal mortality in the country , have remained so within the last ten years .
Accordimg to her, while the country records about 50,000 maternal mortality on yearly basis , 39 out of 1,000 women die at the pre- natal stage .
” These statistics show that there has been no improvement and that we are not serious as a country in tackling the problem headlong”.
In his remarks , the Chairman of the committee , Senator Ibrahim Yahaya Oloriegbe ( APC Kwara Central) , appealed for synergy among all health practitioners as no single profession in the sector can do it alone .
He promised that the five bills will be thoroughly worked upon by the committee in bringing about improvement in health care service delivery in the country .
The other bills considered were Advance Health Care Development Fund ( Establishment etc) Bill 2020, Federal Tertiary Teaching Hospital Development Tax Fund ( Establishment) Bill 2020, Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria ( Repeal & Re- enactment ) Bill 2020 and National Maternal and Pre – natal Deaths Surveillance (Establishment ) 2020 .