FG raises enrolment quota for medical and nursing schools to 64,000 to address the shortage of health workers

Ali Pate, Minister of Health and Social Welfare, revealed that the enrolment quota for medical, nursing, and other health schools went up from 28,000 to 64,000 in the last year.

Mr Pate stated this on Friday in Abuja during a ministerial sectoral briefing ahead of President Bola Tinubu’s first anniversary on May 29.

He claimed that Nigerian health workers continue to flee the country due to a lack of equipment, insecurity, terrible working conditions, and low salaries.

Between 2019 and 2023, about 1,000 medical consultants left the country.

Further statistics show that more than 900 resident doctors moved to Europe in the first nine months of 2023.

To mitigate the situation, Mr Pate said the government is addressing the issue by increasing the enrolment quotas to produce more healthcare workers.

He emphasised the need for the education sector and state governments to enhance infrastructure, training, and tools to support this increase.

The minister said 1,400 primary healthcare centres (PHCs) now have skilled birth attendants, and more than 2,400 health workers have been recruited to serve in rural areas.

Mr Pate said the government had disbursed N25 billion from the Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF) to 23 states through the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) and the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA).

He said the remaining states were in the process of meeting the requirements to receive their allocations.

The Minister of State for Health, Tunji Alausa, had earlier disclosed that the federal government was implementing plans and strategies to increase the population of medical and dental doctors from 5,000 to 10,000.

This will commence in the next academic year with the increase in admissions into medical and dental institutions.

Mr Alausa said making the healthcare environment more attractive would discourage the mass exodus of licensed doctors and other health professionals to more developed countries.

“We shall create room to produce more and excess because globally, there is the shortage of health manpower; the shortage is estimated at 18 million personnel,” he stated.

He said Nigeria produces 3,000 doctors annually, adding, “This is grossly inadequate; we need to increase the rate of production of health workers.”