The Nigerian Medical Association has decried the poor conditions of Nigeria’s health care, bad remuneration and deteriorating hospital facilities saying many medical doctors are abandoning the country for greener pastures abroad.
According to the association, the exodus of Nigerian doctors has been on the increase in the last two years with countries such as the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait as their destinations.
In a recent interview with Punch, Chairman of the state NMA, Dr Saliu Oseni lamented the failure of the state government to replace doctors, who had left its service for greener pastures abroad.
Oseni said the failure to replace the doctors and employ new ones was affecting the service delivery of the NMA members in the state.
He stated, “It will be difficult to give a total figure of doctors that have left the service of the Lagos State Government since 2017, but to be conservative, no fewer than 50 to 60 doctors left the system every six months. Some of them leave for greener pastures abroad. Some of them take offers from the Federal Government and some retire. Not replacing such doctors is a big challenge to us.”
“The situation is affecting our members as they are being overworked. Although we have a lot of doctors that have left the country, we still have a lot of unemployed doctors. Some of the hospitals have not employed or replaced doctors that have left the system in the last two years,” Oseni said.
“The work that is supposed to be done by junior officers is being done by senior officers and currently in Lagos State hospitals, you see a doctor attending to close to 100 patients per eight-hour work in a clinic which is not good for the doctor and the patients.
“The ideal patient-doctor ratio is supposed to 1:500, but what we have currently in Lagos State-owned hospitals is one doctor to over 5000 patients. You cannot create an ideal environment and you want to judge the environment by the ideal standard. If I am going to see 80 patients in eight hours, there is no way I’ll follow the routine properly.
“By standard, a doctor needs 15 to 30 minutes to attend to a patient very well. This means in eight hours, I would only be able to see 15 patients and in between that time if I need to do some procedures that means I will see less than that. By labour law, we are even entitled to a one-hour break, but most doctors in Lagos State-owned hospitals don’t even have time for a break,” Oseni said.