The Patient-Doctor Ratio in Nigeria is 1 to 4000 – Green


The Rivers state Chairman of the Nigerian Medical Association, Dr Ibifuro Green, has raised concerns over the shortage of doctors and nurses in the country to attend to the rising number of patients. He has therefore called for upgrading of personnel in the healthcare sector.

He said this while speaking to the News Agency of Nigeria in Port Harcourt on Monday. He stated that the ratio of doctors to patients in the country was one to 4,000.

Green said, “The World Health Organisation 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.

“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 many.”

According to him, the number of nurses are also inadequate in the country’s public hospitals as one nurse attends to no fewer than 31 patients.

He said, “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.

“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.”

Green said that there are always spare instruments to change should anything go wrong during the surgery.

He said the country’s healthcare industry had not made provision for biomedical engineers.

“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 said.

The chairman noted that the situation was getting worse as doctors were now migrating overseas for greener pastures and job satisfaction.



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A medical scientist and global health enthusiast. ICFP2016 and AIDS2016 rapporteur, country coordinator (Nigeria) for the International Youth Alliance for Family Planning

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