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Guild of Medical Directors faults move to import doctors from America, Europe

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The Guild of Medical Directors has faulted the move by the Federal Government to start importing medical doctors from Europe and America in order to strengthen the nation’s health sector.

Minister Osagie Ehanire had during the 2020 budget defence session on Thursday, said that Nigeria would employ the services of medical experts from Europe and America adding that officials of the ministry were in touch with foreign embassies for specialists who would work in hospitals across the country for specified periods.

But in an interview with journalists at the 25th Annual General Meeting of the Guild of Medical Directors in Abuja, President of the Guild, Prof Olufemi Dokun-Babalola observed that “It will be very tragic if government has to start importing doctors from abroad, arguing that Nigeria is one of the biggest exporters of doctors in the world, noting that “over 60 per cent of the doctors we produce in our medical schools travel abroad to work because sometimes, they don’t find a job here in Nigeria while there are also so many doctors who have finished their training but have not gotten positions for their house jobs.”

He said: “I have spoken with the Registrar of the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN) and they are working on ways in which they will centralise the posting of doctors.

“The problem we have is no shortage of doctors but the establishment for this doctors as many state governments are reneging on their responsibility to effectively run the state and specialist hospitals and are depending only on the Federal Government to run teaching hospitals and the federal medical centers, whereas all the secondary care hospitals are rather moribund now apart from Lagos State which has well-run secondary care hospitals.

“I recommend that to other state governments. They should get their hospitals running, so that the young doctors we are producing will have an establishment to work, thereby, stop leaving the country. We should stop thinking of importing doctors, we have enough.”

The guild president observed that over 80 per cent of medical services rendered in Nigeria are handled by the private medical practitioners adding that if we are to make progress in terms of our health indices in Nigeria, particularly Universal Health Coverage and to ensure that nobody is left behind, the Guild of Medical Directors have a critical role to play.

“We need to find ways of achieving a universal health coverage, there is no way we can increase enrollment in the NHIS without making it possible for Nigerians to go to the clinics nearest to them to register. Since we have decided that it is through the NHIS that we can achieve UHC, we must find a way an average person would easily access NHIS services and the only way that can happen is if they would not have to travel beyond 35 minutes from the house to get a clinic where they can register,” he added

Also speaking, Chairman, House Committee on Healthcare Services, Hon Yusuf Tanko Sununu said the House is very worried about the exodus of Doctors, Nurses, Lab Technicians and other healthcare professionals from the shores of Nigeria in search of greener pasture.

He lamented that as a consequence of the exodus, millions of Nigerians continue to die of preventable diseases and the country loses millions of dollars each year to medical tourism, stressing that there has to be a paradigm shift to address and stop this worrisome trend.

Sununu noted that achieving a health care system that works for all, is, therefore, a priority of the Federal Government and the 9th House of Representatives.


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