One Pharmacist Serves 13,385 Nigerians, PCN Laments

Findings have revealed the number of licensed pharmacists that have left the Nigeria leaving the population of the country on a ratio of one pharmacist to an estimated 13,385 population.

According to the Pharmacy Council of Nigeria, only about 19,000 pharmacists are currently licensed to practise in Nigeria, and out of this number, no fewer than 2,863 of them have left Nigeria to seek greener pastures from 2018 to July 2023.

However, the World Health Organisation, the recommended ratio of pharmacists to the population is one pharmacist to 2,000 of the population.

It was learnt that In 2022, the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs said that Nigeria’s population reached 216 million, accounting for 2.7 per cent of the global population

Going by this figure, Nigeria currently has one pharmacist to 13,385 of the population.

According to findings by the medium, the increasing migration of health workers from low-and middle-income countries is an ongoing public health concern due to its unfavourable impact on health security and access to essential services in the source countries.

Some of the push factors are low remuneration, poor economic conditions, lack of career development opportunities and insecurity, among others.

In March 2023, the WHO identified 55 countries, including Nigeria, as vulnerable to the availability of health workers required to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goal target for universal health coverage by 2030.


The global health body said the impact of COVID-19 and widespread disruptions to health services had resulted in a rapid acceleration in the international recruitment of health workers.


“For countries losing health personnel to international migration, this could negatively impact on health systems and hinder their progress towards achieving UHC and health security.


“Of the 55 countries, 37 are in the WHO African region, eight in the Western Pacific region, six in the Eastern Mediterranean region, three in the South-East Asia region and one is in the Americas. Eight countries have been newly added to the WHO health workforce support and safeguards list 2023 since its original publication in 2020,” it said.


Speaking in an interview with our newsmen, the Registrar of the Pharmacy Council of Nigeria, Babashehu Ahmed, disclosed that the council had only 33,000 pharmacists on its register since its inception.


He said, “As I am talking to you, the number on the register is about 33,000 from the inception of the creation of the council, which is way back from 1936.


“From this number, you have a register of people who are deceased pharmacists, because you cannot reallocate their numbers, you have people who are in other sectors of the economy, there are those who are in banking who are pharmacists, there are those who are in telecommunications, there are those who are in Non-governmental organisation, and there are those who are out of the country, but when you talk about those who are actively available to practice pharmacy as it were now, they are just about 19,000 of those who are licensed to practice.


“So, you will see that there is a serious shortage because the WHO requirement is such that for a population of 2,000, you should have one pharmacist. We have over 200 million Nigerians, and how do you put the ratio to our population?”


He said the brain drain in the sector is worrisome.

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