The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) has warned that the medical profession in Nigeria may go into extinction if the spate of emigration continues.
Dr Benjamin Olowojebutu, the Chairman of the NMA Lagos Branch, stated this during a stakeholder’s engagement with political party leaders and gubernatorial candidates in Lagos.
While noting that Nigeria lost over 1,800 doctors and healthcare workers as of December 2022, he stressed that the level of increase in brain drain is doing a lot of harm to the country’s health sector.
The implication: Olowojebutu warned that medicine Nigeria may soon witness the extinction of medicine as a profession if the problem persists, hence, he suggests a conscious effort by stakeholders to solve the issue.
He inferred that the number of Doctors leaving the country continues to increase every day. For instance, in 2020, he noted that only 81 doctors moved from Lagos to the UK during the Covid. Meanwhile, between March 2020 and October 2022, he stated that the country has lost 507 doctors to the Uk.
Lamenting on the increasing emigration of health workers, leaving the country with few available specialists, he urged that the government treat the subject as an emergency. He said:
“In December 2022 alone, we lost over 1,800 doctors and other healthcare workers to brain drain. We need to think of how to make healthcare attractive and sustainable.
“Before, we used to have young doctors travelling abroad for greener pastures, but now, even the consultants that are supposed to be training the young doctors are leaving the country.”
Needed strategies: Dr Sa’eid Ahmad, the Chairman of the Medical Guild (Lagos State) highlighted the need to focus on upgrading facilities, as well as other strategies that speak to medical human resources retention.
According to him, there is a need to upgrade with an emphasis on medical human resources retention strategies to reduce cost
He also called for an increase in the allowance of health workers’ hazards which has remained at N5,000 for more than 30 years.