Give Doctors Incentives To Mitigate Brain Drain Now, Oyo NMA Tells FG

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Brain drain in Nigerian medical sector especially doctors has grown in recent time.
Brain drain in Nigerian medical sector especially doctors has grown in recent time.

News Investigators/ Chairman of Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) in Oyo State, Wale Lasisi, has called on government to give doctors incentives to mitigate the issue of brain drain bedeviling the health sector.

Mr Lasisi, a medical doctor, made the call in Ibadan on Tuesday at the opening of the 2022 Physicians’ Week, with the theme: “Nigeria’s Healthcare Delivery System and the 2023 Democratic Transition: A Time to Change the Narrative.”

He said that the problem of brain drain had been on since 1960, as many people leave the country on daily basis.

“In those days, the pattern was people training abroad and coming home to practise.

“As things degenerated over time, many people who have been exposed abroad ran back while those who have had the opportunity of training abroad also ran back when they saw the quality service there.

“UK is trying to replace its own workforce and make sure its people get the best of healthcare, thus coming down to Third World nations in Africa, including Nigeria, to recruit medical personnel.

“In the immediate future, the best that government can do is to add incentives to retain those who are on ground,” Mr Lasisi said.

In his lecture, Vice-Chancellor of Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye, Ogun, Prof. Ayodeji Agboola, advised those contesting for one position or the other to put the issue of healthcare in the front burner.

“We have heard several promises from 1960 till when the civilian rule started in 1999.

“So much legislation had also been made and we have heard that they wanted to develop primary healthcare but we have not seen any significant improvement.

“My advice and plea to all of them is to make sure that they put primary healthcare into focus,” Mr. Agboola said.

The University College Hospital, Ibadan, Fola Adeniji said if the brain drain trend should be allowed to continue, the country would be at the risk of having a collapsed health system.

“For every physician trained in Nigeria, government must have spent an average of N3.8 million, which is equivalent to $10,000.

“So if that individual decides to leave the country, that means the country will be losing investments in that individual,” Mr Adeniji said.

In his opening remarks, Chairman of the event, Prof. Akinyinka Omigbodun, described doctors as endangered species, as many of them were leaving for other places, with the few remaining already overwhelmed with the number of patients.

Mr. Omigbodun urged the association to bring together policy makers and stakeholders to implement policies that would benefit the sector.

In his goodwill message, Chief Medical Director of UCH, Prof. Jesse Otegbayo, noted that the nation’s healthcare system had suffered a lot, especially in terms of poor allocation of resources to the sector.

He, however, said this year’s budget had given the sector the highest allocation, for the first time in many decades. NAN

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