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400,000 healthcare workforce not enough for Nigeria, says Pate



The Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Prof. Ali Pate, says that about 400,000 healthcare workforce in Nigeria is insufficient to cater for the healthcare needs of Nigerians.

Pate made the statement while addressing newsmen on Saturday in Abuja, after his three-day briefing session with departments and agencies under the ministry.

The meeting was organised by the ministry to chart a blueprint for Nigeria’s healthcare system.

According to Pate, the 400,000 workforce comprise community health workers, nurses, midwives, pharmacists, physicians, lab scientists, technicians and auxiliaries working in the Nigerian healthcare system.

“They are not enough if you think that this number can take care of 220 million people. Our doctor to population ratio is lower than what the World Health Organisation expects.


“So there’s still room to produce more. In fact, to produce excess because globally, there’s a shortage of health manpower, there is almost a shortage of 18 million people.

“In developed countries where they are ageing, they are retiring so they need more people to provide services.

“So if we think about it, we can produce for our own needs and if some leave then they go and earn resources and they come back with some experience.”

Pate, however, said that if infrastructure was improved, and people were treated with respect, some of them would come back to serve the country.

“So I don’t want to undervalue the contribution of the workers that we have.


“We have to acknowledge them, celebrate them, make life easier for them even as we train more or re-train the ones that we have even as we work to resolve their issues.

“We really value the Nigerian health workforce and will continue to support and develop that going forward,” he added.

Speaking on ending medical tourism, Pate said that the trend was present in almost all countries whether developed or developing as people leave the U.S. to East Asia to have surgical procedures because it is more affordable there.

“However, what seems to be an issue is using public financing to fund it and missing the opportunity to keep some of the resources used in engaging in medical tourism back in the country.

“When I mentioned unlocking the healthcare value-chain, it includes mobilising private capital to invest in the physical infrastructure and the human resources so that some of the services that people go to India for, we will have them here.


“We have begun discussing mechanisms or models where we’ll go on that path as part of expanding the value-chain so that it’s not necessarily publicly financed.

“So if you want to have plastic surgery, there’s no need to use government money to pay for your plastic surgery but if we have a facility that will do that here for you, we will keep your dollars here and employ a few attendants here to do the procedure for you.”

The minister added that because people had options as to where they would seek healthcare, medical tourism might not be completely eradicated.

He, however, assured that the Federal Government would use the opportunity of human capital, private sector capital and innovation to provide services that people could use in the country.

“People leave the developed world and go to South Africa to get surgical procedures and laboratory services. So those kinds of things are possible but we are nowhere there yet.


On getting financing from development partners for the sector, Pate said that the team had met with some of the partners to give them the direction Nigeria needed their support in.

According to him, the bulk of the health budget in Nigeria is from government at different levels, while a smaller portion is what the development partners bring to the table.

“Let’s get to a point whereby we have a programme and the government’s budget is put on the table and you are contributing to that and there’s transparency on both sides.

“Government needs to know more about how the external parties deploy their resources, just as it also needs to open up a little bit more on what is coming from its own side,’’ he said.



NCDC registers 1,968 Lassa fever cases in 28 states



The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC), has registered 1,068 Lassa fever infections across 112 local government areas in 28 states of the federation.

The NCDC said this via its official website on Tuesday in its Lassa Fever Situation Report for Week 37 (Sep. 11 -17, 2023).

The centre indicated that 75 per cent of the cases were detected in Ondo, Edo, and Bauchi States.

Lassa fever is a viral hemorrhagic fever caused by the Lassa virus. It is primarily found in West Africa, particularly in Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea and Nigeria.

The virus is transmitted to humans through contact with the urine or feces of infected rodents, specifically the multimammate rat.


According to the NCDC, there are currently 7,352 individuals with suspected cases and the infection has resulted in the unfortunate loss of at least 181 lives in the country.

The centre said that the case-fatality ratio of the infection stood at 16.9 per cent.

“Cumulatively from week 1 to week 37, 2023, 181 deaths have been reported with a case fatality rate of 16.9 per cent which is lower than the CFR for the same period in 2022 (19.1 per cent).

“In total for 2023, 28 States have recorded at least one confirmed case across 112 local government areas.

“Seventy-five per cent of all confirmed Lassa fever cases were reported from these three states (Ondo, Edo, and Bauchi) while 25 per cent were reported from 25 states with confirmed Lassa fever cases.


“Of the 75 per cent confirmed cases, Ondo reported 35 per cent, Edo 29 per cent, and Bauchi 11 per cent.

“The predominant age group affected is 21-30 years (Range: 1 to 93 years, Median Age: 32 years).

“The male-to-female ratio for confirmed cases is 1:0.9. The number of suspected cases increased compared to that reported for the same period in 2022,” it said.

It is regretted that in 2023 Lassa fever infected 49 healthcare workers across the country.

The agency said that the National Lassa Fever Multi-partner, Multi-sectoral Emergency Operations Centre had been activated to coordinate the response activities at all levels.


It added that prevention of Lassa fever involves avoiding contact with rodents and their droppings, practising good personal hygiene and taking precautions when caring for infected individuals.

The NCDC said that early diagnosis and prompt medical care are crucial in managing the disease and preventing complications.

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NLC, TUC suspend planned strike for 30 days




Organised labour unions have suspended their planned nationwide indefinite strike action for the next one month.

This was contained in a memorandum of understanding signed Monday by the NLC President, Joe Ajaero, and General Secretary, Emmanuel Ugboaja; as well as the TUC President, Festus Osifo, and Secretary General, Nuhu Toro.

The three-page document was also signed by the Minister of Labour and Employment, Simon Lalong; Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Dr Nkeiruka Onyejeocha; and Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris.

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