In a significant move, the Federal Government has unveiled plans to double the population of medical and dental doctors from 5,000 to 10,000 starting in the next academic year. This strategic decision involves ramping up admissions into medical and dental institutions, as revealed by the Minister of State for Health and Social Welfare, Dr. Tunji Alausa.
The announcement was made on Wednesday at the induction ceremony of foreign-trained medical and dental graduates by the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria, held in Abuja. Dr. Alausa emphasized that discouraging the exodus of licensed doctors and health professionals to more developed countries is a key objective, and this will be achieved by creating a more attractive healthcare environment.
Highlighting the current inadequacy of just over 3,000 doctors produced annually in Nigeria, Alausa stressed the need to double the rate of production of health workers. He stated, “Equally, we shall expand these opportunities to all other health professionals like pharmacists, nurses, physiotherapists, community health extension workers, radiographers, and others. Although this will be in phases, We shall create room to produce more and excess because globally, there’s a shortage of health manpower, which has been estimated at a shortage of 18 million people.”
Dr. Alausa affirmed that the Ministry of Health will continue to advocate for increased funding in the health sector, aiming to enhance the value chain and attract more international grants and funding.
A Bold Step Towards Addressing Global Health Manpower Shortage
The Federal Government’s initiative to double the number of medical and dental doctors signifies a bold step in tackling the global shortage of health manpower. With the plan to expand opportunities for various health professionals, the government aims to not only meet domestic needs but also contribute significantly to addressing the worldwide deficit estimated at 18 million people.
Dr. Alausa’s commitment to creating an environment that retains skilled health professionals within the country aligns with the broader goal of strengthening the healthcare system. As the government takes proactive measures to enhance workforce production, this initiative holds promise for building a more robust and self-sufficient healthcare sector in Nigeria.