How many Neurosurgeons do we have in Nigeria?

A medical doctor and social media influencer Dr. Nonso, popularly known as Aproko Doctor on Sunday took to his social media handle to share thought provoking, sad and worrisome tweets about the dearth of Neurosurgeons and other medical specialists in Nigeria.

See his tweets.. .

Who can guess the number of doctors that can carry out brain surgery in Nigeria?

The number is just 74 as of 2018 for a population of almost 200,000,000

As of 2008, they were just 15

If you understand how scary this is, you would demand better healthcare

Japan has over 7500

This is the reference for the 2008 values.

There was only one neurosurgeon for 10 million people.

Imagine a person had a brain injury and did not have the funds to get quick service, what happens?

Now you know why Nigerians have resolved to prayer

His tweets. How many neurosurgeons do we have in Nigeria

An interview with Dr Biodun Ogungbo on the ThisDay platform puts the recent number at 74 neurosurgeons

That is one neurosurgeon to almost 3 million people Imagine a person has a brain injury somewhere, how long to get a neurosurgeon to save that person?

Do you understand now?

If you are finding it difficult to understand, remember the accident that happened to a certain person on a power bike.

Would the average Nigerian have survived it if he or she were not connected to command the resources or had the funds for such a surgery?

You may feel that this does not concern you because it is just cough and catarrh that is your problem for now.

What if that accident victim was you?

I know, God forbid… But the energy we use to compare Wizkid and Davido, use it to DEMAND better healthcare from your leaders

Nigeria spent just 4% of its budget on health in 2018
But we no dey sick, we are strong people, nothing dey do us, na just fasting and prayer we go use and agbo too
170000 Nigerians die from tuberculosis on a yearly basis.
E no concern you abi? Lagos has the highest burden
According to @NaijaFlyingDr:
“Every dollar invested in healthcare returns $2-$10 dollars back in terms of economic growth Health care is an investment not a cost.”
A sick population cannot drive an economy.
We are placing the cart before the horse.
If an accident were to happen to you now on an expressway, a fire accident, can you beat your chest and say, I know I will make it to the hospital on time?
I know the hospital I will be taken to will be well equipped to take care of me.
If no, then DEMAND better healthcare
He cited the research conducted in 2008 by Emejulu JK, published on PUBMED and titled “Neurosurgery in Nigeria–an evaluation of the perception of health personnel in a new centre and a comparison of the Nigerian situation with that of other African states” back up his points.
Excerpts from the research: “Neurosurgery has become endangered species in Nigeria. We have only 15 practising neurosurgeons for our population of 150 million, giving a ratio of one neurosurgeon to 10 million Nigerians. Of the 26 accredited medical schools, only 6 offer neurosurgery. This study is a preliminary evaluation of the perceptions about neurosurgery before the commencement of neurosurgical services in a tertiary health institution, and a comparison with the situation in other African countries”.
Conclusion and Recommendations from the study: “Neurosurgical service in Nigeria is grossly inadequate both in availability and quality, and these have resulted from bad government policies. It is therefore of utmost necessity that services and training be urgently provided in this specialty, at least in the tertiary institutions in Nigeria”.
Does the Nigerian government care? I don’t think they do. Why do I say so? From their comments and body language.

“We have surplus doctors”

In April 2019, the then minister of Labour, Employment and Productivity, Dr Chris Ngige while responding to questions on Channels Television on the worrisome number and statistics of doctors leaving the country for greener pastures abroad he pointed it clearly that doctors can leave and that the country have “surplus doctor”. Read below. .

He said, “No, I am not worried (about doctors leaving the country). We have surplus. If you have surplus, you export. It happened some years ago here. I was taught chemistry and biology by Indian teachers in my secondary school days.“There are surplus in their country and we also have surplus in the medical profession in our country. I can tell you this. In my area, we have excess.

“Who said we don’t have enough doctors? We have more than enough. You can quote me. There is nothing wrong in them travelling out. When they go abroad, they earn money and send them back home here. Yes, we have foreign exchange earnings from them and not just oil.”

When asked if he was sure of what he was saying, the minister said it was good for doctors to travel out as they would receive training from abroad and open up centres in Nigeria.

“Will you call that brain drain? I know a couple of them who practise abroad but set up medical centres back home. They have CAT scan, MRI scan which even the government cannot maintain. So, I don’t see any loss,” he said.

“Not all doctors will be specialists”

While answering questions from journalists in a video that has been circulating on social media, the minister was asked why Nigerian doctors have to wait for a long time to get residency training.

In response, the minister casually said that all doctors cannot become specialists and can try their hands at other things like farming or politics. While still failing to answer to question, he said his tailor makes the best gowns despite being a doctor.

He said, “It might sound selfish, but we can’t all be specialists. We can’t. Some will be farmers, some will be politicians.

“The man who sews my gown is a doctor. He makes the best gown. And some will be specialists, some will be GPs, some will be farmers.”

You have seen it yourself. What more can I say? We need not just more neurosurgeons or neurologists, but more medical specialists.


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