The Founder and Proprietor of the Eko University of Medical Health Sciences (EKOUNIMED), Ijanikin, Lagos, Dr. Ibraheem Ayodele Hammed, has bemoaned what he described as gross shortage and insufficient medical doctors and other health professionals including pharmacists, physiotherapists, nurses and laboratory scientists in the country.
This was as he noted that far from the World Health Organization (WHO) recommendation of a minimum of one doctor to 600 patients, Nigeria has a ratio of one doctor to 6000 patients. Worried by this development, Hammed said that for the country to meet the WHO benchmark and standard, Nigeria would need more than 303,000 doctors, and for which at least 10,605 new doctors are expected annually to join the medical workforce.
He said: “Yet, of the 72,000 registered doctors in the country, only 35,000 are in active practice, while more than 50 per cent are in the diaspora. At the current annual production of about 3,000 to 3,500 doctors in the country, it would take nearly 100 years to produce enough medical doctors for our needs. All medical institutions in the country are only capable of admitting, between 10 and15 per cent of the qualified candidates seeking admission every year.
”The Founder painted this gloomy picture during the second matriculation of the private medical university, saying with 34 medical schools in the country and based on the current population of about 200 million, with a 3.5 per cent annual growth rate from the 2006 census, there is the need for additional medical schools.“Our health manpower level is so poor that the latest World Health Organization performance rating places Nigeria 187th out of 191 nations,” he lamented, adding that EKOUNIMED, as a specialized, privately owned, medical, non-sectarian, and co-educational institution, is therefore to bridge this gap and frustration of Nigerian youths, who though qualified, but could not secure admission into universities to study medicine due to the limited admission spaces.
Anchored on the American model, Hammed said of the university: I was motivated to establish this university to bring the best of American Medical Education with which I was involved for more than four decades. It will consequently assist in promoting quality modern medical delivery for a people ravaged by myriads of diseases and poverty where the rich travel outside the country to receive some basic medical treatment.”To achieve the stated objectives of the specialized university, which was granted a licence by the National Universities Commission (NUC) in December 2017, and admitted its first set of students in 2018, the institution, he pointed out run academic programmes in the following medical and health fields, Faculty of Basic Medical Sciences, Faculty of Clinical Sciences, Faculty of Community Medicine and Primary Health Care, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Faculty of Dentistry, and Faculty of Nursing.
Besides, the Founder added that the institution already signed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Eko Hospital, Ikeja and Alimosho State General Hospital as Teaching Hospitals, as well as the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research (NIMC), Yaba, as teaching and research partner. “Also EKOUNIMED is currently under the full medical education mentorship of the University of Lagos (UNILAG) under the approval and coordination of the National Universities Commission, and statutory oversight of Nigeria Medical Council,” he added.