Sub-Saharan Africa suffers a huge deficit in neurologists, with only one specialist for a million people living on the continent, according to Professor Amadou Gallo Diop, head of the Neurology Department at Dakar’s Fann University Hospital in Senegal.
The standard for WHO is one specialist for every 50,000 inhabitants said Professor Diop in an interview with the African Press Agency on Wednesday.
A neurologist and epileptologist, Dr Diop was recently shared a joint award with Tunisian, Riadh Gouider, of the “Golden Hammer” prize of the European Academy of Neurology (EAN) which is awarded every other year.
“The Maghreb and South Africa are experiencing the same deficit in neurologists. In those two regions the rate is one neurologist for every 250,000 inhabitants” Dr Diop added.
Citing his native Senegal which has only 25 neurologists and a single neurology department since independence, he said there is one neurologist for every 600,000 inhabitants.
He said this is so despite that since 1997, 135 African and Senegalese neurologists have been trained in Dakar.
“There are not many neurologists, while patients are increasing day by day,” he said.
According to him, this situation is largely blamed on the fact that students consider neuroscience too difficult to study.