Brain drain: Nigeria may have to import medical doctors in future — NMA – Tribune Online

T HE Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) has raised the alarm that Nigeria may have to import medical doctors to treat local patients in the future if urgent steps are not taken to stop health workers from relocating.
The body also called for a state of emergency in the healthcare sector with a view to holistically addressing the menace of pull and push factors, which promote mass migration of health personnel to Europe, America, and other foreign countries.
The NMA chairman in Oyo State, Dr Ayotunde Fasunla, raised the alarm at the official opening of the 2022 scientific conference, entitled: ‘National Health Authority Act – The Sound Bites’,  with the sub-theme: ‘Industrial Harmony in the Health Sector – A Necessity for Health Sector Growth’, in Ibadan.
Fasunla said: “It is disturbing that thousands of doctors have become so disenchanted with the Nigeria healthcare system that they are actively migrating to more developed countries with better health systems and economies.
“The danger, therefore, looms as this may be the beginning of a total collapse of the Nigeria healthcare system, except urgently addressed. It calls for a sober reflection as it underscores the need for a declaration of a state of emergency in the Nigerian health sector.
“The infrastructure deficit is such that some of our hospitals spend a significant amount of their internally generated revenue on diesel to ensure power supply. There is a scarcity of funds to apply to equipment upgrades, manpower development, or even recruitment of new staff. Many of our hospitals are grossly short-staffed.
“Even the process of replacing migrating staff is bogged down by a rigid and insensitive government bureaucracy. It is our plea to the government to commit more funds to the health sector so that the system does not collapse.”
Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde, speaking through the state’s commissioner for Health, Dr Olabode Ladipo, said there is a need to look inward and ensure that the health system does not collapse.
According to him, the state recruited about 530 medical and health personnel within the last one year, and 20 among them, including 12 consultants, have left the services of the state government.
On his part, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Health, Senator Ibrahim Oloriegbe, in his keynote address at the scientific conference, said Nigeria’s performance on key health financing indicators is poor, adding that the Nigerian health sector is still mainly financed through out-of-pocket spending and 3.88 per cent of the population is covered by health insurance.
Oloriegbe, who was represented by the Chief Medical Director, Federal Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital, Kwara State, Dr Baba Issa, advocated the proper implementation of the Vulnerable Group Fund, and he called on relevant stakeholders to make effort to ensure the speedy implementation of this fund to facilitate the access to the vulnerable group.

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