Persistent brain drain hurts Nigeria's health sector, doctors cry out – Guardian Nigeria

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Health sector
The president, Medical and Dental Consultants’ Association of Nigeria (MDCAN), Dr. Victor Makanjuola, has expressed worry over the myriads of challenges bedeviling the health sector in the country.
This was even as the president of the National Postgraduate Medical College of Nigeria (NPMCN), Ijanikin, Lagos, Prof. Akinsanya Osibogun, also warned that the country now has shortage of doctors to man its health facilities due to persistent brain drain.
Speaking in Benin City, Edo State, yesterday, during the 2022 National Executive Council (NEC) meeting of the MDCAN with theme, ‘Needed Entrepreneurial Skills in Medical Practice in Nigeria to Reverse Brain Drain and Outward Medical Tourism to Brain Gain’, Makanjuola noted that inappropriate remuneration for members, worsening brain drain, generally unsatisfactory conditions of service and inadequate infrastructure in hospitals were among the myriads of challenges bedeviling Nigeria’s health sector.
He said the meeting would proffer pragmatic solutions to the challenges, adding that it would provide its members the opportunity to brainstorm on strategies and policies towards sustainable growth, entrepreneurship and general development of the association.
“The meeting will provide useful resolutions and recommendations for engaging the policy makers on how best to revamp the nation’s healthcare system,” Makanjuola said.
In his speech, Chairman Local Organising Committee (LOC) and Chairman National Eye Health Committee, Federal Ministry of Health, Prof. Afekhide Ernest Omoti, said the meeting came at a critical time.
“Benin 2022 promises to be an interesting meeting coming at a time that there are so many issues plaguing medical practice in Nigeria and at a critical time in our democracy.
Of particular importance is the ceaseless brain drain, insecurity, inflation, poor wages, unemployment and burnout of the medical doctor,” he said.
Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Health FMOH, Alhaji Mahmud Mamman, represented by Chief Medical Director, University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH), Prof. Darlington Obaseki, expressed government’s commitment in tackling brain drain by ensuring that healthcare workers that leave are replaced without resort to obtaining approvals.
“One of our proposed interventions is the ‘One for one replacement policy’ for existing medical staff in our hospitals. Healthcare workers that leave are replaced without resort to obtaining approvals. We believe that this would go a long way towards addressing the present brain drain,” Mamman said.
Addressing a press conference yesterday to announce the 40th convocation ceremony of the NPMCN, which will hold on September 15, Osibogun said certain push and pull factors were responsible for the mass exodus of medical personnel to developed world.
His words: “We have shortage of doctors in Nigeria and the situation is being compounded by this migration of doctors. Those countries pulling out doctors are providing them incentives, such as better pay and condition of service.
“We also consider our work environment. If you have the skills and training but you don’t have the necessary equipment to work with, you will be frustrated as a doctor watching your patients die. The job satisfaction has to be there for you to stay on it. Good remuneration is also very important to keep our doctors in Nigeria. These are some of the issues these young doctors disclose to us when we engage them.
“If we improve the work environment and incentives for doctors, I’m sure most of them will prefer to stay in their country. For instance, government can build houses for the doctors to acquire on mortgage. When some of these things are in place, nobody will then want to become a second class citizen in another man’s country.”
On the convocation, Osibogun said the college since inception has produced 7,500 specialists who are providing health services within and outside Nigeria.
He noted that the specialists that would graduate on September 15 had been in training for the past six to seven years.
“The college will graduate 416 Fellows, 61 Doctor of Medicine graduates and 14 Postgraduate Diploma in Anaesthesia,” he disclosed.

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