FG mulls reversal of brain drain in nation’s health sector
Cautions against use of hazardous chemical substances
The Federal Government yesterday disclosed that it is working hard to reverse brain drain in the nation’s health sector, a situation it said, has been complicated by increasing medical tourism to Nigeria’s contemporaries abroad.It lamented that about 1,551 of the 29,406 doctors who were registered with the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN) in 2018 to practice in the country, requested and obtained letters of good standing from the council to enable them to emigrate from the country.
Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, who stated this at the 50th anniversary of the National Postgraduate Medical College of Nigeria in Abuja lamented that Nigeria loses billions of foreign currency to medical tourism yearly, insisting that the such funds could have been used to develop the country’s healthcare sector.
Ehanire, who was represented by Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Abdullaziz Mashi Abdullahi, said: “This administration places priority on tackling brain drain, medical tourism and other healthcare issues in the country.
“It is my hope that the outcome of your intellectual discussions will be made available to government to assist in resolving the challenges.”Ehanire noted that healthcare was a major policy plank of the present administration, adding that in line with the National Health Act, government increased allocation for the Basic Healthcare Provision Fund (BHCPF) geared towards strengthening Primary Healthcare, National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) and emergency medical services.
Also speaking, President of the College, Dr. Opubo Da Lilly-Tariah, said Nigeria’s health sector was faced with many challenges, stressing that one major problem plaguing the sector was brain drain, whereby Nigeria loses its best doctors who it had invested heavily to other countries. Also speaking, Professor Emeritus, University of Port Harcourt, Nimi Briggs, noted that doctors at all levels were not immune to the effects of living in harsh environment, which Nigeria has become, adding the incessant killings, kidnappings, environmental rot and lack of job satisfaction were fueling the urge for people to leave the country in search of safety and greener pastures.
Briggs charged the government to find ways and means of addressing the problem of mass exodus of doctors from Nigeria to other countries. Besides, the Federal Government has cautioned producers, marketers and users of hazardous chemicals against unlawful use and access by non-state actors or unauthorised persons.
Permanent Secretary, Political and Economic Affairs, Office of Secretary to the Government of the Federation (OSGF), Gabriel Aduda, who doubles as Chairman National Authority on Chemical and Biological Weapons Conventions, spoke at a sensitisation workshop in Kano.The Federal Government organised the workshop to educate stakeholders and industry players in the North West on sound management of chemicals, as part of measures to prevent them from getting into wrong hands, while promoting peaceful use of enhanced safety and security of persons and the environment.