How valid is the claim that Nigeria has a Surplus of Medical Doctors?

Verdict: False

The Claim: Dr Chris Ngige, Nigeria’s Minister for Labor, has asserted that doctors who practice overseas are not doing that to the detriment of the country. He said; “No, I am not concerned at all. I am not worried. We are surplus. If you have a surplus, you export. We have enough; we have more than enough, quote me”. The Minister said this during an interview on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily on Wednesday, April 24, 2019.

The Fact: According to worldometers, Nigeria’s current estimated population is 199,961,971. To ensure optimal healthcare for people, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends a doctor/patient ratio of 1:600. The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA)’s official website shows that there are over 40,000 doctors practicing in Nigeria. Going by the WHO ratio of doctor/ patient, Nigeria needs no fewer than 333,269 medical doctors. The over 40,000 medical doctors, by standard, can only attend to about 24,000,000 Nigerians. Hence, the country has a deficit of about 293,269 medical doctors who are supposed to attend to over 175,000,000 Nigerians.

A report of the NOI poll in collaboration with the Nigerian Health Watch also stated that Nigeria has about 72,000 medical doctors registered with the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN) with approximately 35,000 of them practising in Nigeria. The report further said that Nigeria needed 10,605 new doctors annually to join the workforce. Between the NMA and  MDCN Registrar, around 20,000 registered medical doctors are working outside the country

Conclusion: The Minister’s claim of surplus medical doctors in the country, viewed against the backdrop of global standards, is FALSE.