More Nigerian Hospitals Including OAUTH Shut Down Wards As Doctors, Health Workers Relocate Abroad

The shortage of medical doctors and other healthcare professionals continues to bite hard across Nigerian major teaching and general hospitals, the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) has confirmed, citing poor working conditions and failure of the government to carry out recruitment.

The NARD confirmed that a ward at the Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospital (OAUTH), Ile Ife, Osun State, which is the Behavioral Science/Psychiatry section has also been shut down due to shortage of personnel.

SaharaReporters had days ago reported that the House of Representatives Committee on Health raised concerns over relocation of Nigerian doctors and nurses abroad which had caused a decline in the country’s health manpower.

The committee had disclosed that due to such rush abroad, the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) for instance has five wards comprising 150 beds which have been shut down over shortage of personnel.

The Chairman of the committee, Dr Amos Magaji, had described the situation as worrisome saying the legislative arm is working toward nipping the increasing rate of Nigerians going abroad for medical tourism in the bud.

He had said the Nigeria health workers migration overseas has taken a huge toll on the country’s heath system affirming that “the “japa” syndrome would be curtailed by building state-of-the-art infrastructure and making the sector attractive and rewarding to workers irrespective of their fields.”

Speaking with Guardian, the president of Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors (NARD), Dr. Dele Abdullahi, said the LUTH scenario was a reflection of happenings in the 52 federal health institutions (FHIs) nationwide.

He said the acute shortage of doctors was leading to burnout of members, adding that they have proposed a one-for-one replacement policy to address the issue.

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Abdulahi observed that despite intervention of the National Assembly and Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF), the Federal Government had not employed more doctors or replaced the ones leaving.

The NARD helmsman, who is a resident doctor at University of Ilorin, submitted: “The issue of shortage of doctors is getting worse, and the government is just beginning to realise.

The Minister of Health declared a state of emergency in the sector during the just-concluded National Council of Health (NCH) in Ekiti State.

“As of now, a section of Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospital (OAUTH), the Behavioral Science/Psychiatry, has been shut. According to latest figures from the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) and Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN), there is one doctor to 10,000 patients in Nigeria against the recommended World Health Organisation (WHO) of one doctor to 600 patients.

“I can tell you that it has got worse. Doctors are leaving the country on a daily basis. The situation has resulted in massive burnout of doctors nationwide. NARD is compiling work on ideal manpower that the country needs. Between January and July 2023, 900 doctors left the country and another 900 say they want to leave.

“We request for ‘one replace one’ policy. The idea is to maintain even the suboptimal level we were before now. We are hoping that the Federal Government can look at this policy. It is not just about the shortage of doctors in LUTH, but in Lagos. How many doctors do we have in Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) Ikeja? They are insufficient. There is no health institution in Nigeria that can say they have sufficient manpower.”

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