The President of the Nigeria Society of Physiotherapy(NSP), Dr. Rufai Yusuf Ahmad has disclosed that most of the 2,000 registered physiotherapists in the country are not gainfully employed.
Ahmad stated this in a press statement made available to THISDAY in Kano over the weekend,that the many teaching hospitals and federal medical centres with more than 300 beds have less than ten physiotherapists that are expected to manage both inpatients and outpatients.
“Overall Nigeria is not anywhere near having sufficient number of physiotherapists mainly provide services and care in tertiary health care facilities and there are very few long time care facilities, specialised rehabilitation centres or nursing homes in the country”.
The statement added that this gives a physiotherapist population ratio of 1 to 85,000 compared to a ratio of 1:9,000 for South Africa and 1:1600 for United States”. “Physiotherapists are also in small numbers in clinics and hospitals for the armed forces and para military services and hospitals” he added.
According to the statement, there are no early intervention programmes when compared with population of the country of estimated 170 million, while appealing for urgent intervention over the issue. “Healthcare service is still regarded as public good and only a proactive government intervention can address this problem of access to physiotherapy services in Nigeria.
“For many Nigerians who need the services, cost of physiotherapy services can mitigate care seeking behaviour and successful outcome of care. More services points are therefore needed to serve the population through existing health units including tertiary hospitals, general hospitals, community health centres and public service clinics.”
The statement appealed to state, local government and federal governments to take measures to address the problem of access and affordability of physiotherapists to ensure quality healthcare services to the good people of the country.
Rufai stated that interventions to enrol more people into the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) and review of payment schedules for physiotherapy services by NHIS are important complementary measures to address the problem of access and affordability.