Nigeria is estimated to have the highest Out of Pocket Expenses on healthcare in Africa, representing 70.5% away the bench mark by the World Health Organization, (WHO).
Medical experts present at the physicians week ceremony held in Abuja disclosed that healthcare delivery in the country was high because the government’s health expenditure per capita is low.
The Physicians week commemoration had its theme as “Nigeria’s health care delivery system and the 2023 democratic transition: A time to change the narrative”.
The celebration had physicians across the federation deliberating how to reform the health sector in the face of emerging public health threats and brain drain.
A Health Economist with WHO, Dr Francis Ukwuije in a paper presentation attributed the migration of health workers to the low health expenditure of the government.
Dr Ukwuije explained that the WHO standard for health spending per capita for low and middle income countries is $86 per person, however Nigeria is spending $14.5 per person.
The health economist stressed that the out of pocket expenditure by Nigerians in accessing health care had driven so many into poverty including health practitioners.
Chairman, Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) FCT Chapter, Dr Charles Ugwuanyi said the General Medical Council statistics shows that between January 1, and September 30, 2022, about 1,307 doctors trained in Nigeria were licensed in the UK as Nigeria continues to battle one of the worst situations of brain drain in its history.
He added that overall, 10,296 doctors who obtained their degrees in Nigeria are currently practising in the UK.
Despite the national drawbacks, the Nigerian doctor are set to offer free medical outreaches and minor surgeries across the 36 states of the federation to mark the physicians week.
Reporting by Nancy Anikaezie; Editing by Muzha Kucha