Diaries of a Doctor – Episode 7

In the past few decades, the Nigerian health system has suffered a huge setback which has been further aggravated by the advent of the pandemic. Covid-19 had exposed tht weak points and cracks in our fragile health sector leading to a spike to the key indicators including maternal mortality rate, under 5 mortality rate and infant mortality rate.

Most of the federal and state health institutions are constantly overwhelmed by the high turnover of patients at the outpatient department especially with the low Doctor-patient ratio of about 1:5000. As a specialist and physician, working conditions in the federal institution is not encouraging due to poor adherence to the covid-19 protocols, inadequate personal protective equipment, poor funding and most alarming, the ongoing brain drain.

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Talking about the brain drain recent studies have revealed that 5500 Nigerian doctors and nurses practice were practicing in the UK NHIS as at 2018/2019 but has increased to 7875 in 2020 with over 2000 doctors migrating annually and more are getting set to leave. The US Bureau of labor statistics has projected a global health workforce shortage of about 12.9 million health workers by the year 2035. The brain drain has automatically doubled the working hours as well as the workload which has led to job fatigue and increased risk of exposure to all kinds of occupational hazards.

Finally, the present economic recession will further worsen access to basic medical needs and services, high cost of healthcare delivery, unemployment leading to brain waste and further brain drain.

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