Top 10 States with Highest Number of Medical Doctors in Nigeria

Top 10 States with Highest Number of Medical Doctors in Nigeria

Recently, the minister of labour and employment, Chris Ngige, was reported by the media as saying Nigeria, as a developing country, was unlikely to meet the recommendation of the United Nations and the World Health Organisation’s ratio of one doctor to 600 patients.

The minister also insisted that Nigeria has enough doctors to cater for the people, saying that the problem of lack of doctors is that the medical manpower is not proportionately deployed/distributed.

Lagos and 9 Other States with Highest Number of Medical Doctors in Nigeria
A general view of the main gate of the Gbagada General Hospital as activities resume following the suspension of strike by medical doctors in Lagos, on May 21, 2020. Photo by PIUS UTOMI EKPEI/AFP
Source: Getty Images

He said most of the doctors in the country abandon the rural areas, choosing to practice in Abuja, Lagos and Port Harcourt.

Apart from the locally trained doctors, Ngige said foreign-trained doctors are also returning to Nigeria to practice.

The minister claimed Nigeria now has "about 4000 plus", insisting that the lack of medical doctors is due to uneven deployment.

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He said:

“So, almost everybody has come to Abuja, Lagos and Port Harcourt to stay. And we have 10,000 primary care centres that are unmanned as at the last count.”

What the data says

In August 2021, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) released the 2020 Statistical Report on Women and Men in Nigeria.

One of the important statistics captured in the report is the number of medical doctors in each of the states of the federation (including the percentage of women among them).

The data, learns, was sourced from the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria.

Top 10 states with the highest medical doctors (2019 data)

  1. Lagos - 2561
  2. FCT - 2523
  3. Rivers - 917
  4. Oyo - 772
  5. Edo - 727
  6. Kaduna - 711
  7. Kano - 632
  8. Delta - 554
  9. Anambra - 552
  10. Plateau - 538

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Other states

  1. Osun - 536
  2. Enugu - 491
  3. Ogun - 478
  4. Kwara - 446
  5. Borno - 377
  6. Bayelsa - 359
  7. Benue - 332
  8. Cross River - 330
  9. Imo - 319
  10. Ondo - 293
  11. Abia - 289
  12. Gombe - 286
  13. Akwa Ibom - 278
  14. Katsina - 266
  15. Ekiti - 261
  16. Nasarawa - 258
  17. Bauchi - 243
  18. Kogi - 218
  19. Niger - 217
  20. Sokoto - 201
  21. Ebonyi - 184
  22. Adamawa - 147
  23. Kebbi - 144
  24. Zamfara - 137
  25. Yobe - 133
  26. Jigawa - 131
  27. Taraba - 86

The report further shows that Nigeria, as of 2019, had 6,713 medical doctors not classified under any state. The total number of doctors in the country was put at 24,640.

However, another recent report credited to the Nigeria Health Watch stated that about 35,000 are practising in Nigeria.

The report further stated that the 35,000 practising doctors were out of the total 80,000 doctors registered with the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN).

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The others not practising are reportedly practising abroad while a few have switched professions.

We did everything possible to stop doctors’ strike - Ngige

In another report, the federal government said it tried to stop the ongoing nationwide strike by the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors.

This was disclosed by labour minister, Senator Ngige, while addressing the Nigerian Health Commissioners Forum Quarterly meeting in Abuja.

The minister recalled that “the doctors were sleeping on their rights until COVID-19 pandemic broke out last year,” and the federal government felt that the N5000 hazard allowance paid to them since 1991 was too paltry.


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