Reps members visit LUTH, seek law to address brain drain
The Chairman of the House Committee on Health Institutions, Dr. Pascal Chigozie Obi, has expressed concern over the worrisome continuous migration of Nigerian doctors to foreign countries, noting that legislation is underway to address this unpleasant development.
Speaking during an oversight visit by members of House of Representatives Committee on Health to Lagos State University (LUTH) recently, he noted that the issue of brain drain has become recurring decimal in the history of the nation’s health institutions.
According to President, Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), Dr. Uche Ojinmah, half of the doctors trained in Nigeria had moved abroad because they do not have to worry about work equipment and the safety of their families.
He identified other reasons as poor work environment and poor remuneration.
But Dr. Obi, while fielding questions from journalists said, “Very soon, we shall come up with legislation that would take care of that. When Doctors qualify and become marketable, they rush out of the country and start taking care of non-Nigerians and their brothers and sisters who contributed in their training would be left in the hands of people that may not be qualified. It is very bad. So we are coming up with an Act of Parliament that will curb this. If we cannot control the pull from outside, we should be able to control the push from here through formal legislation.”
Speaking on the purpose of visit to the hospital, he said, “We were here last year and we are here today and there is a great difference on how this place was last year and this year. The Labour Ward has undergone transformation but there is need to improve on the environment.”
The members also said the management should provide befitting waiting rooms to prevent people from hanging around the corridors.
Other areas visited include the Intensive Care Unit Health Information Management Scheme, among others.
Chief Medical Director, LUTH, Prof. Chris Bode, said the hospital is facing some challenges like shortage of manpower, encroachment of LUTH land, power instability, acute shortage of manpower, appointment of house officers among others.
Represented by Chairman Medical Advisory Committee (CMAC) LUTH, Dr. Wasiu Adeyemo, he stressed that the hospital’s land at Idi-Araba axis, opposite LUTH main gate had been subjected to much encroachment as a result of the past default and neglect. He said management had appealed to the Board to assist by formulating a holistic policy that would guide the hospital management to solve the problem.
Concerning shortage of manpower, he said the acute shortage of manpower in the hospital for the past one year had been exacerbated by difficulties experienced in the process for replacement of staff who had left the service by resignation, retirement or death. He disclosed that the hospital had overstretched its staff strength and found it difficult to deploy corresponding number of staff for its service expansion.
On appointment of House Officers, he disclosed that the Federal Government had taken over the appointment of House Officers in the Federal Teaching Hospital and they were now being posted from the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN) to all institutions. He noted that the process appeared to have been beset with various lapses because it was a new arrangement.