Medical Brain Drain: Practitioners Discredit Minister’s Statement, Lament Deficit of 315,426

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CEM REPORT | Medical and Dental Consultants Association of Nigeria (MDCAN), has said that Nigeria is not producing enough doctors to replace the ones lost to other countries.

The association adds that the exodus of highly skilled Nigerians, most especially doctors to greener pastures is majorly as a result of the government’s refusal to pay health professionals the budgeted hazard allowance.

According to Dr Olusola Ibiyemi, Chairman of the association, inadequate funding, poor salary, unconducive working environment, and insecurity, among others are also factors discouraging health workers to continue offering their services in the country noting that Nigeria currently has a deficit of 315,426 medical doctors it requires to cater for the health needs of its teeming population.

“Between 2021 and 2022, about 727 Nigerian doctors migrated to the UK, a country with over 9000 Nigerian doctors also working.

“Last week, doctors in some institution like Federal Medical Centre, down tools to press home their request for government to address understaffing and its stress on provision of healthcare services.

“We already have doctors moving out of the country, now we have a situation where we are not producing doctors to replace them; that is where we have found ourselves in the last 7 years.

“Currently at UCH, Ibadan, if you ask the resident doctors, they will tell you that they don’t know if the next person they are talking with is actually on his way to the airport to leave for another country to work.”

Dr Ibiyemi, who spoke at a media briefing to mark the commencement of the association’s annual general meeting in Ibadan on Monday, discredited the statement of the Minister of Health.

“The Health Minister coming out to say that we have enough doctors and other healthcare workers is a political one; the exodus of doctors out of Nigeria is so high.

He added that ASUU strike was also a high contributing factor to intending doctors leaving the country adding that it slows down the training of medical students.

“One of our assignments as MDCAN is to provide training. When ASUU is on strike, it affects the teaching of medical students. And that is why we are joining our voice to that of well-meaning Nigerians to ask that the government should find an amicable solution to the stroke.”

Dr Obajimi, MDCAN UCH branch’s vice chairman said the attrition of specialist doctors in the country is also low and other doctors also leave Nigeria under the excuse of wanting to have professional training abroad.

“In my department, Obstetrics and gynaecology, we have about 11 senior registrars and almost all of them have applied for training as registrars in the UK. The issues are how do we mitigate this to keep Nigerian doctors in Nigeria. We certainly cannot influence people’s choices; anybody is free to live in any part of the world.”

Recall a CEM report earlier in August where the Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire said that the ratio between medical practitioners relocating aboard and those in the country is quite enormous noting there won’t be a shortage.

He added that about three thousand (3000) doctors are produced in the country annually.

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