The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) says at least 2000 workers in the health sector leave the country annually.
Francis Faduyile, NMA national president, disclosed this in Abakaliki, Ebonyi state, during the opening ceremony of the association’s 59th annual general conference/delegates meeting themed “Skill Repatriation in the Health Sector: Turning Nigeria’s brain drain to brain gain.”
Faduyile was reacting to the comment of Chris Ngige, minister of labour, who said Nigeria has more than enough medical doctors to cater for its needs.
The minister, who made a U-turn after outrage, particularly on social media, had initially argued that the situation did not translate to brain drain.
Faduyile said policymakers in the country are not worried about the trend because they do not have the data.
“The theme is apt at this point in time when brain drain in the health sector is at its peak, with about 2,000 health practitioners leaving the shores of Nigeria annually,” Faduyile said.
“We believe that this ugly situation can be turned to an advantage hence the need to bring this to the front burner for discussion and proffer a way out to the country’s advantage.
“Without intent at generating further controversy on the matters arising from the unfortunate remark by a senior cabinet member of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, who incidentally or coincidentally doubles as a senior member of the medical profession, it is our firm belief that this gathering would generate further affirmatory statistics and facts that possibly would be enough in convincing those policymakers at critical MDAs of government at all levels, including the Federal Ministry of Labour and Productivity who perhaps are yet to come to reality with the scientifically unambiguous deleterious aftermath of the worsening disparity between the health workforce in general and the population they are serving vis-à-vis the alarming rate of the emigration of these health/medical professionals on health outcomes as reflected by the various morbidity and mortality data.”
In March, reports show how health officials from Saudi conducted recruitment test for Nigerian-trained doctors.
Hundreds of medical doctors thronged the venue in Abuja and Lagos.