#PHC4UHC: We should adopt task shifting policy to counter 5 doctors to 100,000 people ratio in Nigeria – Official

By Philip Shimnom Clement in Lagos

Nigeria has been urged to adopt and implement the task shifting policy in order counter the current 5 doctors to 100,000 people ratio, which is seriously affecting quality health care delivery in the country. 

Head of operations, the Lagos State Health Management Agency, Dr. Femi Serano who revealed the ratio scenario to the pressmen also identified the inadequacy as one of the major challenges in the health sector in Nigeria.

Serano said this while addressing Course 41 Senior Executive Course Participants at the National Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS) in collaboration with the development Research and Project Centre (dRPC)-PACFaH@Scale.

“Lack of manpower and skilled labour is one of the major problems of the health sector in Nigeria. As it is, the current ratio of doctor to patients in Nigeria is about 5 to 100,000 people.

“The idea of Universal Health Coverage is for everyone to access quality health care service without spending huge amount of money and anything short of that is not good for us. Therefore, if the problem of manpower can be addressed then we can achieve a lot in health care delivery, ” he said.

According to him, one alternative way to handle the problem of shortage of medical workers is to quickly embark on the implementation of Task Shifting policy.

He said task shifting is “is a situation where nurses and midwives are trained to discharge certain functions which doctors perform in the case where there is shortage of doctors.”

Serano also cited instance with Canada who accept medical practitioners and train them in preparation for the population challenges they will encounter in the future, urging Nigeria to imbibe such policy.