35,000 doctors serving 180m Nigerians, we need 300,000 – Senate
By Henry Umoru
ABUJA— THE Senate, Monday, claimed only 35,000 doctors were currently serving the 180 million Nigerians, saying the country needed additional 300,000 medical practitioners to address the health challenges in the country.
Speaking when he declared open a one-day public hearing on the bill establishing the University of Health Science, Utukpo, FUHSO (Establishment, Etc, Bill, 2017( SB. 504), sponsored by former Senate President, Senator David Mark, Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, who harped on the need for Nigeria to produce more qualified health professionals when considering the statistics that only one doctor was available to 5,000 patients, said the N3 billion lost to medical tourism would be curbed.
The public hearing was organised by the Senator Jibrin Barau (APC, Kano North) led Senate Committee on Tertiary Institutions and TETFUND.
Saraki said: “180 million of us are served by 35,000 doctors. In reality, 300,000 more medical practitioners are needed, to properly cater to the health and well-being of our citizens; Figures show that only about 20 per cent of those who qualify and apply are admitted to medical schools in this country.”
Meanwhile, ahead of the establishment of the university, there was strong clamour among senators to name the institution after David Mark, in recognition of his commitment to the establishment of the institution.
The Senate President who revealed this said Mark deserved such recognition and honour because he has spared no effort in promoting the bill.
Saraki who was represented by the Chief Whip, Senator Olusola Adeyeye, said: “His focus on this goal is, no doubt, a measure of his commitment to alleviating the huge shortfall in the education and training of critical personnel in the nation’s health sector and to the people of Benue South, who the Distinguished Senator represents.”
In his remarks, Senator Mark who stressed the urgent need to scale up the specialized training of doctors, nurses, pharmacists and other professionals in the health sector to meet the requirements of world bodies in the health sector, said that the proposed university would also address the situation where aspiring health professionals cannot secure placement in the available spaces in the universities.
In his lead debate at Second reading, Senator Mark had said, “you will recall that the Federal Executive Council at its sitting of 20th May 2015 approved two universities and upgraded four of the colleges of education to universities of education.
The two universities were; The Federal University of Health Sciences Otukpo (FUHSO) Benue State and the Maritime University Okerenkoko, Delta state.
“The four colleges of education upgraded to universities of education were; Adeyemi College of Education, Ondo State as Adeyemi University of Education, Ondo State, Federal College of Education, Zaria as Federal University of Education, Zaria, Federal College of Education, Kano as Federal University of Education, Kano, and Alvan Ikoku College of Education, Owerri, Imo state as the Alvan Ikoku University of Education, Owerri, Imo State. The Federal Government appointed Vice Chancellors (VCs) and other principal officers and consequently constituted the Governing Councils.
“FUHSO was in the process of admitting students for the 2015 academic session when the VC with the VCs of the other institutions mentioned earlier were issued with a letter that the approval given be put on hold. Before the approval was put on hold, the University had made appreciable progress including acquisition of 600 hectares of land with compensation fully paid, topographical and soil testing surveys, completion of the consultancy services as well as the structural and architectural design/drawings for the building of the University and its Teaching Hospital.
“Prior to the approval of FUHSO, the Federal Government established the College of Health Sciences, Otukpo (CHSO) as a Campus of the University of Agriculture, Makurdi. Subsequently, Government appointed a Provost for the college and arrangement was in place to admit students in 2015 when it was upgraded to a Federal University. Already, there is an existing infrastructure for the take-off of the University (FUHSO). A team of assessors, including the National universities Commission (NUC), and Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN) inspected the infrastructure and noted with a deep sense of satisfaction the adequacy of the facility for immediate take off of the University.
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