Governors’ Forum Seeks Urgent Action to Tackle Brain Drain of Medical Doctor
The Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF), has expressed worry over the preponderance of medical doctors seeking greener pastures abroad to the detriment of their country.
Chairman of the Forum, Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal who disclosed this on Friday when he paid the minister of health (FMOH) a courtesy visit in Abuja, also urged the federal government to ramp up drive for the realization of the 25 per cent needed to ensure universal healthcare coverage for all Nigerians under the Basic Healthcare Provision Fund (BHCPF).
According to him, although the Governors are desirous of building a resilient healthcare platform committed to routine immunization and total eradication of polio, in collaboration with global and local partners, their efforts will come to naught if the alarming trend continues unchecked.
“There are challenges but a lot has been achieved , particularly in the effort to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic,” which as a result made Nigeria to come fourth out of 54 African countries under the Global Health Security Index for 2021.
Yet, the Governor said; “We are witnessing brain drain over the years. It is alarming. And, I believe it has something to do with the welfare of the medical personnel
“I urge the federal government to do something about this urgently,” Gov. Tambuwal said.
While commending the federal government for the initiative of setting up the BHCPF, the Governor urged that it is important that the momentum of making the fund realizable is not slowed down.
He assured the apex government and the FMOH of transparency and accountability in the management of the fund by states, pointing out that its disbursement by the Forum will be based on the performance of the recipient states.
According to him, “health remains our priority,” as Governors, with a focus on building a resilient healthcare platform committed to routine immunization and total eradication of polio in the country.
In his remarks, the minister of health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, corroborated the Governor on the issue of brain drain, noting that 3000 medical doctors graduate annually in the country. Out of this number, he added, 1000 leave the country every year.
He, however, said the federal government has been trying to create more space to employ these personnel despite demands for higher remuneration.
He explained that out of the medical doctors, those who are less likely to stay back in the country and for whom the incentive to do so is abysmal, are experienced consultants. “They are the ones that worries us most because it takes a lot of money to train them and it is difficult to meet their expectations.”
The minister, nonetheless, urged other state Governors to emulate Sokoto state government which dedicate lots of resources to training medical doctors, who are subsequently employed by it.
Giving a vote of thanks, the minister of state for health, Hon. Joseph Ekumankama expressed gratitude to the NGF and the Governor for the visit, observing that with his new responsibility, the work of Gov. Tambuwal is not limited to the health sector alone but all facets of life that affects Nigerians