A medical expert says Nigeria needs about 800,000 nurses and midwives to meet up with its teeming population of over 200 million people.
He said the computation agreed with the Workload Indicators of Staffing Need, WISN, put in place by the World Health Organisation.
According to the WHO, WISN serves as a roadmap for scaling up human resources for improved health service delivery in the African Region between 2012 and 2025.
It lays emphasis on the availability of sufficient numbers of qualified health workers in the right place as essential for the delivery of quality health services to the population.
WISN also drew global attention to the critical shortage of skilled health professionals such as physicians, nurses and midwives in 57 African countries.
In an interview with PUNCH HealthWise, President of the National Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives, Adeniji Abdrafiu said the shortage of manpower has left a large vacuum in the health sector.
“Ordinarily, we should have about 800,000 nurses and midwives to Nigeria’s population of about 210 million. But in reality, what we have is less than 200,000 nurses operating in the country.
“It leaves a large vacuum in the system that must be filled. To do that, we must be strategic about it and ensure we don’t promote one group to the detriment of others.
“A situation where one of the medical teams tries to play the role of the other would not augur well for the health sector,” he said.
Beyond the recruitment of additional manpower, Abdrafiu said, the government must invest more on training nurses in the country.
“We still have a very long gap to fill in the area of getting personnel to train Nigerian nurses. The government must look into the area of having residency programme for nurses. That way, we would have filled the gap,” Abdrafiu said.