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Brain Drain as bane of Nigeria’s declining healthcare personnel

by Christiana Gokyo, Jos

Brain drain has been described as cankerworm responsible for the high rate decline of healthcare personnel in Nigeria.

This assertion was voiced by Professor Nuhu K. Dakum, who decried the scenario, during a 2021 NEC Meeting, also revealing that, Nigeria had about 85,000 registered doctors working in the country a few years ago, but the information available to him is that, only 45,000 or less than that are working in the country at the moment.

He noted that, “Most of the doctors trained in the country have left – that is to tell that, with COVID-19 most countries are requiring for doctors, nurses and other people to work for them.

“So many doctors are now writing exams to leave this country, and the next few months or there about huge doctors are going to leave this country. So, most of them that are trained are leaving the country,” he disclosed.

He explained that brain drain generally is the situation where people live the place where they are to another place; and it can be from one country to another or from one sector of the economy to another.

“We have a situation in Nigeria where doctors are leaving to other countries, especially most doctors that were trained in Nigeria are leaving to other countries; even the training centers are leaving to find ‘white-collar’ jobs, and that is a very serious situation because it’s going to affect the training of medical students, it’s going to affect the training of doctors in the country!,” he echoed.

He said, “We have a situation and challenge where we have very few doctors that cannot be able to give the care that they suppose to give. They cannot be able to train people adequately.

“These also have effect and outcome on more mortality, more people with disabilities, more people with dissatisfaction, more people with diseases because most doctors are leaving the country, and it’s going to affect the economy of the country adversely and also affect the healthcare in the country.”

He charged policy makers to do the needful by changing some certain aspects of policies to address the deplorable conditions of healthcare sector in Nigeria.

The 2021 NEC meeting, which has a theme, ‘Healthcare delivery in the face of emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases,’ was delivered by Professor Ayuba I. Zoakah.

He said people’s center care and integrated health services are critical in achieving the universal access and courage as far as health service delivery is concerned.

He also pinpointed inadequate manpower, inadequate funding, inadequate distribution of healthcare services, consistent disruption of health service and absence of adequate mega medical legal practitioners are some of the hindrances crippling healthcare in Nigeria.

Earlier, National President of MDCAN, Professor Kenneth Ozoilo, lament that the country emerged from another avoidable industrial action by the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors “in part, due to inability of government to honour agreement it entered into with the workers in the wake of Covid-19 pandemic.”

He explained that, the pandemic itself laid bare the gaping deficiencies in the health sector, resulting from years of neglect and chronic underfunding, adding, “But unfortunately, the sector has not seen a significant investment of a lasting nature, to reverse the old order and drive meaningful improvement.”

The National President further explained that, “Rather, the country continues to haemorrhage highly-skilled manpower – both young and old – at an alarming rate, with little or no mitigating effort from the government.

“I am sure that, of everyone here today, one neither knows a colleague, who has migrated, one who is planning to do so, or one who is planning to migrate himself or herself,” he stated.

“These challenges are further complicated by serious economic challenges and a deteriorating security situation. As numerous and herculean as these problems are, the onus is still on us to chart a path forward for our profession and the health sector, as we deliberate on these and other weighty issues in the course of this NEC Meeting,” Prof. Ozoilo stated.

In a similar development, the National Officers of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) have expressed concerns over the general insecurity in many parts of the nation that is very worrisome to medical doctors and other health workers that are not only affected, but find it difficult – and unsafe – to offer their services to those in need.

The NMA’s National Officers were in Jos for their 61st Annual Scientific Conference and Delegates Meeting when they paid a visit to Governor Simon Bako Lalong to interact with him ahead of their conference.

President of the NMA, Prof. Innocent Ujah, said they were at the Government House to appreciate the governor for approving the hosting of the weeklong event, which has over one thousand doctors in attendance.

According to him, the NMA is hosting the event in Plateau because of the “substantial peace” that has returned to the State due to the efforts of the State Government, adding that, there is confidence in the State, as many members had no reservations or fears coming to Plateau State.

The NMA equally appealed to the governor to use his Good to work with his colleagues, the Federal Government and the security agencies in tackling insecurity in the country, which is giving everyone concerns.

Responding, Governor Simon Lalong thanked the NMA for the visit and said their second visit within four months shows the confidence they have in the State, and assured them of his administration’s determination to sustain the peace in the State, “which is the Number One priority of the Government.”

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