Rep decries shortage of doctors in Niger State

From Ndubuisi Orji, Abuja

The member of the House of Representatives representing Bida/Gbako/Katcha federal constituency in Niger State, Saidu Musa Abdullahi, has called attention to the shortage of medical doctors in the state.

Abdullahi, who spoke on Monday at a public hearing on the Bill for an Act to establish the Federal University of Medicine and Health Sciences, Bida, Niger State, noted that Niger currently has a ratio of one doctor to 9,000 citizens.

He said this is against the national average of one doctor to 4,000 people and the World Health Organization’s (WHO) recommendation of 1 doctor to 600 persons.

According to the federal representative, ‘a recent survey by National Demographic Health Survey shows Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) of 100 deaths per 1000 live births and an under-five mortality rate of 149 deaths per 1000 live births.

‘Sadly, Niger State has the highest under 5 mortality in the North-Central geopolitical zone of Nigeria and above the national average of 128 deaths per 1000 live births.

‘Conversely, Niger State has one of the highest numbers of under 5 years children with fever, seeking medical attention from health facilities or healthcare providers (73.2%), above North-Central average of 71.8%, National average of 63.4%.

‘The pronounced disproportions in health outcomes and access to health services in Niger state raises the question about the availability of qualified health care professionals.’

Abdullahi, who is also the sponsor of the bill, explained that the objective of the proposed legislation is to establish a tertiary institution that will high calibre health-care professionals, and ultimately address the dearth of health care professionals in the country.