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Shortage Of Qualified Healthcare Personnel Hits Niger

Niger state is currently faced with a shortage of qualified medical and healthcare providers of various cadres, even as patients are now at the mercy of private healthcare givers who render similar services for those who can afford the cut-throat charges.

This comes less than three months after some medical personnel, Doctors in particular left the state civil service for greener pastures within and outside Nigeria, many of them citing discriminations on tribal and religious considerations leading to discrepancies in their remunerations.

Already, key stakeholders in healthcare sectors in Niger state have expressed concerns over the shortage of medical doctors, nurses and midwives to fill the manpower gap in the primary and secondary healthcare facilities.

A visit to some of the Primary Health Care centres (PHCs) facilities within Minna the state capital and environs by our correspondent paints a picture of the facilities being either understaffed or having a number of unqualified or auxiliary staff attending to patients.

One of the patients in one of the facilities visited on the condition of anonymity narrated to Daily Independent how she had waited for two days before she was attended to by a Doctor who is said to be supervising two other Clinics.

The situation is further compounded by the paucity of NYSC medical doctors and other health professionals who also work their transfers out of Niger state after being briefed of discriminatory tendencies on religious and tribal differences.

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The situation is so pathetic that patients and their families are now at the mercy of private healthcare providers and caregivers, including some well-established pharmaceutical companies who now engage in treating patients at cut-throat rates, aside from selling drugs.

Meanwhile, the Provost Niger State College of Nursing Sciences, Hajiya Aisha Maikudi in reaction to the situation, described the shortage of manpower in the state healthcare sector as ‘very worrisome’ hence the urgent need for intervention.

Maikudi expressed sadness that many of the experienced medical personnel are retiring from service and few others still in service were aging and a great number of them, mostly women will be affected and there will be a gap with no available hand to replace them.

A situation whereby only one Nurse is made to attend to close to twenty patients within the specified time is not just an almost impossibility but uncalled for.

Either she gets tired or forced by the law of nature to abandon some people unattended to, Maikudi lamented.

“Many female nurses who form the highest number in health care service providing will be retiring soon and our male counterparts are not that much. Many of them have left the state service for greener pastures. We urgently needed replacements to fill the vacuum”, she said.

Except the state government do something, and urgently too by engaging the services of young Nurses and Midwives to replace the old and aged ones that are retiring, the situation would be worst than what is happening now in various healthcare facilities across the state.