Zamfara: 46 Doctors Care for 3 Million People

With a population of over three million people, Zamfara State has only 46 qualified medical doctors. Most public hospitals in the state are groaning from dearth of medical doctors. The Chairman Medical and Health Workers Union in the state, Comrade Isyaku Sabo Tsafe said the number was grossly inadequate and that the shortage of medical doctors was much more pronounced when meningitis epidemic hit the state recently. “Now in Zamfara State there are only 46 medical doctors taking care of more than 3 million people. Divide 3 million by 46, you would be surprised at the number you will arrive at finally,” he said. He said ‘mal distribution’ is another challenge compounding that of shortage of doctors. According to Comrade Tsafe, this is a situation whereby a large number of the available doctors are concentrated in one area, usually cities, to the detriment of other parts of the state especially rural areas. He said: “For instance, currently, there are about 20 doctors in the state capital Gusau alone, the other parts of the state share the remaining 26 doctors. Even though something is being done to correct the anomaly.” Asked why medical doctors were rejecting rural postings, Tsafe said that it might be connected to the security situation in the state. “No medical doctor will be willing to go to places like Dansadau district where the security situation is not favourable,” he said. He said very soon, there would be Task Shift in the state, “This is a situation where by some medical doctors would be trained to do the tasks of specialists. If there are no specialists doctors in the state some of the available doctors would be trained to do specialists duties,” he explained. He said it has been approved by the National Council on Health and would ensure that the gap was bridged.

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