By Tobias Lengnan Dapam
The federal government has expressed worry over the country’s one doctor to 2,753 population profile.
It said the profile is contrary to the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) recommendation of one doctor to 600 pupolation.
This was made known on Tuesday by the Head, Human Resources for Health (HRH), Federal Ministry of Health, Shakusi kadiri, during the launch of the Nigeria Health Workforce Country Profile-2018.
The statistics also showed that the number of medical doctors registered with the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN) is 74,543 which equates to 36.3 medical doctors per 100,000 population, doctor to population ratio of 1: 2753).
The data which was presented during the launch of the Profile and Handing Over of the National Health Workforce Registry, in Abuja, revealed that although there was a decline from the numbers recorded in 2007, there is a progressive increase in the numbers from 656 in 2014 to 1551 medical doctors applying for letters of good standing or verification standing (a proxy for migration) in 2018.
In his keynote address, the minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, said the registry is a single and authoritative source of authenticated and validated health workforce information in the country, which provides up-to-date information on all health workers under the employment of national and sub-national entities in both public and private sectors of the national health system.
Ehanire, said that government had been working on obtaining accurate data on the existing health workforce in the country in order to facilitate human resource for health planning and thereby deliver efficient, effective and high quality health services to its citizens.
Ehanire said that the effort was part of the nation’s response to World Health Organisation (WHO’s) call to all nations of the world to strive towards the attainment of Universal Health Coverage (UHC), and Sustainable Development Goals through the implementation of the Global Strategy on Human Resources for Health (GSHRH) 2030.
“The Global Strategy adopted by the 69th World Health Assembly in May 2016 under Resolution WHA69.19, aims to ensure universal acceptability, coverage and quality of health workforces within strengthened health system (World Health Assembly 2016).
“This can be achieved through adequate investment and implementation of effective policy at national, regional and global levels.
“Translated into Global Milestones to be achieved by 2020 and 2030 respectively, this implies that all countries are making progress on Health Workforce Registries to track health workforce stock, education, distribution, flows, demand, capacity and remuneration,” he said.
The Minister said that NHWR operational guidelines 2015 amendment section 3.2.5 mandates the establishment of a web- enabled NHWR which shall serve as the national platform for accurate and timely information on health workforce in the country .
He said that the registry was a single and authoritative source of authenticated and validated health workforce information in the country, which provides up-to-date information on all health workers under the employment of national and sub-national entities in both public and private sectors of the national health system.
“This registry links the health workers to administrative units and facilities.
The architecture of the NHWR aligns with those of other health information systems in the country such as the District Health Information System (DHIS2).
“It will be managed by the FMoH with all submitting entities having access to health workforce information pertaining to them only. The information on the Registry is collected based on ten Minimum Data Sets (MDS) “ he said.
According to him, In line with the above, the FMOH with support from WHO has developed the Nigeria Health Workforce Profile (NHWP) 2018 and the National Health Workforce Registry (NHWR) platform. Currently, data from ten States across Nigeria have been uploaded into the Registry platform to be handed over today.
He said that it was expected that data from all the thirty six States and FCT would be fed into it, to make it a complete National Health Workforce Registry.
He, however said that there was therefore, a dire need to strengthen all collaborations across board especially within the 3 tiers of Government in all the State and FCT to fully come together to develop a single, unified NHWR.
Ehanire commended the development Partners for their supports in different areas to see that that the achieved the objective of strengthening human resources for health.
“Particularly WHO, USAID, Global Affairs Canada, Women for Health (W4H), MNCH2, Global Fund – RSSH through Management Sciences for Health, JICA, European Union,” he said .
The minister solicited for more support from other partners for the States that were yet to commence the establishment of their State Health workforce Registries
He said that states like Bayelsa, Benue, Ebonyi, Ekiti, Enugu, Lagos, River, Taraba and FCT which would feed into the National Registry.
Dr Martin Osubor, Representative of the Canadian High Commission, highlighted the usefulness of the profile and hope to see how this would help the Nigerian government to plan and mobilized resources for the sector.
“This document will not only better our understanding of our health workforce’s stock, characteristics and performance, it will also further help to generate insights into gaps and possibilities for health workforce strengthening”.
Osubor reiterated, “The document will assist policy and decision makers at all levels to develop appropriate strategies to ensure that the correct numbers of professionals are trained, equitably distributed and retained towards achieving Universal Health Coverage (UHC)”
Speaking at the event, the WHO Officer in Charge, Nigeria, Dr. Clement Peters, said the Nigeria Health Workforce Registry serves as a database for accurate and timely evidence-based health workforce information and it links health workers to administrative units and health facilities.
According to him “The registry demonstrates Nigeria’s significant progress in achieving the Global Strategy for Human Resources for Health: Workforce 2030 milestone of every country having a registry to track health workforce dynamics and sharing HRH data annually through the National Health Workforce Accounts.
“It also sets the foundation for achieving the goal of the Strategic Pillar 3 and Priority Area 9 of the Second National Strategic Health Development Plan 2018 – 2022 of having in place the right number, skill mix of competent, motivated, productive and equitably distributed health workforce for optimal and quality health care service provision.”
Peters informed that the WHO, with funding from the Government of Canada developed the prototype of the Registry, using the iHRIS Manage framework which is being used in several countries globally.
He said “WHO also supported the roll out of the registry in Bauchi and Cross River States with funding from the Government of Canada through the Global Affairs Canada; Anambra and Sokoto States with funding from the European Union; Borno, Adamawa, Abia, Osun, Niger and Edo with funding from the Government of Japan and WHO. We are also in the process of concluding the registry for Yobe State.”