Doctors free to leave Nigeria, we have enough – Ngige

…you’re wrong, only 40,000 doctors for 200m people in Nigeria – NMA, NARD tell Minister

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, says doctors who feel they want to relocate in search of greener pastures are free to do so as the nation has enough medical personnel.

Ngige said this on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily on Wednesday.

The minister was responding to a question on brain drain and the deliberate recruitment of Nigerian doctors by foreign embassies in Nigeria to the detriment of the nation’s health sector.

In his response, however, Ngige, who is also a medical doctor, said there was nothing wrong with doctors leaving the country as they would continue to send foreign exchange home which could, in turn, grow the economy.

He said, “No, I am not worried (about doctors leaving the country). We have surplus. If you have surplus, you export. It happened some years ago here. I was taught chemistry and biology by Indian teachers in my secondary school days.

“There are surplus in their country and we also have surplus in the medical profession in our country. I can tell you this. In my area, we have excess.

“Who said we don’t have enough doctors? We have more than enough. You can quote me. There is nothing wrong in them travelling out. When they go abroad, they earn money and send them back home here. Yes, we have foreign exchange earnings from them and not just oil.”

When asked if he was sure of what he was saying, the minister said it was good for doctors to travel out as they would receive training from abroad and open up centres in Nigeria.

“Will you call that brain drain? I know a couple of them who practise abroad but set up medical centres back home. They have CAT scan, MRI scan which even the government cannot maintain. So, I don’t see any loss,” he said.

When asked if brain drain was not hurting the health sector, he said, “Brain drain will only be inimical when for instance neurosurgeons travel and we don’t have neurosurgeons here.”

Nigeria is believed to be one of the most affected countries in the world as regards emigration of medical doctors.

With an estimated population of over 180 million, there is one doctor per 5,000 people in Nigeria, according to the Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole, compared with the World Health Organization recommendation of one per 600 people.

There are 72,000 doctors registered with the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria; over half practise outside the country.

Nine in every 10 doctors are considering work opportunities outside Nigeria. And it is projected to keep rising as doctors continue to face systemic challenges, according to NOI polls

Meanwhile, the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) and National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) have described as “unfortunate” the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige’s statement on brain drain in the medical sector.

The NMA president, Dr. Adedayo Faduyile, said Nigeria had no enough doctors, stressing the need to ensure the country retains its medical personnel.

He said, “That is an unfortunate statement which shows that he has done nothing in medical practice.

“The World Health Organisation stated that, for optimal healthcare to be achieved, we need doctor/patient ratio of one to 600.

“In Nigeria, we have 40,000 doctors taking care of 200 million people.

“It’s unfortunate, we do not have enough doctors. Maybe he is looking at the monetary part, but there is opportunity cost.

“We have the maternal mortality that is about the highest in the world. To correct it, we need health professionals around.”

NARD president, Dr. Olusegun Olaopa, said Ngige spoke as a politician.

“He spoke as a politician who does not know what is happening in the country.

“The doctors we are losing are not fresh doctors but specialists. That means that Nigeria will continue to battle with shortage of specialist doctors,” he said.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

x

Check Also

Melaye talks tough as tribunal nullifies senate victory, orders fresh elections

The Senator representing Kogi West Senatorial District,  Senator Dino Melaye on Friday described the ruling of the Kogi West National Assembly/State Assembly Election Petitions Tribunal nullifying his victory ...