By Ed Malik, 25 | October 5, 2022
The National President of Nigerian Medical Association, Dr Uche Ojinmah, has disclosed that worrisome number of doctors have left the shores of Nigeria in the worst case of professional brain drain ever witnessed by the nation and are now practicing in the United Kingdom and other European countries.
Dr. Ojinmah raised the concern during a press briefing on Monday October 24, to mark the 2022 Physicians’ Week in Ibadan, Oyo State.
The NMA lamented that at a time when the health sector was in desperate need of more medical personnel, the country is instead witnessing an exodus of doctors abroad, saying that no fewer than 10,296 Nigeria-trained doctors are currently practicing in the United Kingdom (UK)
The NMA national president who was represented by the Oyo State NMA Chairman, Dr Wale Lasisi, said, “Currently, Nigeria has the third highest number of foreign doctors working in the UK after India and Pakistan.”
“While we are losing our human resources to health in geometric progression, Lassa Viral Hemorrhagic fever, Malaria, COVID-19, Ebola, Marburg, and so on, are still very much available in the face of worsening incidences of systemic hypertension with or without complications, diabetes mellitus with or without complications, osteoarthritis, and so on.”
“We call on our governments at all levels, to quickly declare emergency action in Nigeria’s health sector for the sake of its citizens.”
The NMA leader, while expressing dissatisfaction over the lack of modern infrastructures and facilities for them to operate, also lamented that the general welfare of the members was not encouraging.
He added, “Let me inform you all that a Nigerian doctor is poorly paid, overworked, lacks necessary work tools, and has become a target for kidnapping.”
“We, as Nigerian doctors, have been taken from the lofty heights of nobility to nothingness by the neglect and possible disdain for the health sector by successive governments.”
“The penchant of state governments for seizing or slashing our salaries and paying them piecemeal at their convenience, without interest, has become a subject of folklore and, hence, cannot be allowed to continue.”
In a related development, the NMA Taraba State Chapter Chairman, Dr. Bako Ali, on Monday also decried the pitiable state of healthcare in their state, where he disclosed that the ratio of doctors to patients in the state is conservatively a doctor to about 10,000 patients in the State.
Dr. Ali, painted the glooming picture at a press conference in Jalingo, the State’s capital, as part of activities to mark the 2022 Physician Week.
The Taraba State Chairman explained that there are many challenges facing doctors in the State, such as inadequate manpower and facilities, which he said, are exacerbated by the non-implementation of CONMESS for doctors on the state payroll.
“Another challenge is that the State is yet to start payment of hazard allowance for doctors practicing in Taraba State and they are now moving to federal hospitals while those in the federal service are moving abroad over poor remuneration and conditions of service.”