From Atiku Sarki, Abuja
Health Care experts under the platform of Project Pink Blue have projected that by 2030, the country will have shortage of 50, 120 doctors and 137, 859 nurses.
They also noted that the country, with a population of 201 million, has less than 90 clinical oncologists with over 100, 000 cancer patients across the 36 states and FCT.
Briefing newsmen in Abuja on the need to declare a state of emergency on health workforce shortage in the nation, the Executive Director, Project Pink Blue, Mr. Runcie C.W. Chidebe said in Nigeria, there are 74, 543 registered physicians but out of this figure only 40, 000 are practicing in the country.
According to Mr. Chidebe, the mass migration of health care workers to foreign countries in recent years has worsened their inequitable distribution.
“This migration of Nigerian healthcare workers abroad impacts on Nigeria in diverse ways, for instance, the mortality cost of Nigerian physician migration to abroad totals to $3 billion dollars annually,” he said.
He said the government of the nation loses at least N3.8 million for subsidizing the training of its physicians, who eventually leave the country to high income countries.
Also speaking, the Chief Executive Officer, Aspire Coronation Trust Foundation, Mr. Osayi Alile said in African continent; Nigeria remains a major contributor to the cancer burden.
He said that cancer treatment requires best medical professionals who specialize in areas including oncology, chemotherapy, surgery and survivorship among others.
In her remarks, The Breast Cancer Survivor and Programme Coordinator of Project Pink Blue, Gloria Okwu said in order to strengthen the capacity of the Nigerian health workers and Oncology Professional, the Project Pink Blue with support from US Mission in Nigeria in 2018 initiated and upgraded Oncology and Nigeria Science and Technology exchange programme.
She further explained that the project also supported the Nigerian governments in achieving its National Cancer Control Plan 2018 – 2022.
Also in her remarks, the chair, Oncology Pharmacist Practitioners Association of Nigeria (OPPAN), Pharm. Ramat Musud Alebelewe, noted that out of over 16 cancer hospitals across the country, only 62 pharmacists who are specialists in oncology treatment, and this, she said, needed an intervention.
It was observed that the project also launched upgrade Oncology and while launching, the president, Nigeria Cancer Society, Dr. Adamu Al-Hassan Umar observed that the disease is receptively common and accounting for the second common cause of mortality after cardiovascular disease.