Nigerian governors worry over brain drain

Nigerian governors worry over brain drain

  • Health Minister confirms 1000  out of  3000 doctors who  graduate annually leave the country 

The 36 State Governors under the umbrella of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, NGF, weekend expressed worry over the rate Nigerian-trained medical doctors are leaving the country for greener pastures.

Chairman of the Forum and Governor of Sokoto State,  Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, made the disclosure when he paid a visit to the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire.

Tambuwal stated that the Governors are disturbed over the mass exodus and therefore urged the federal government to ramp up drive for the realization of the 25 percent needed to ensure universal healthcare coverage for all Nigerians under the Basic Healthcare Provision Fund (BHCPF).

According to a statement, made available to Vanguard from the NGF’s Media Unit, Tambuwal said that although the Governors are desirous of building a resilient healthcare platform committed to routine immunization and total eradication of polio, in collaboration with global and local partners, their efforts will come to naught if the alarming trend continues unchecked.

He said: “There are challenges but a lot has been achieved , particularly in the effort to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic,” which as a result made Nigeria to come fourth out of 54 African countries under the Global Health Security  Index for 2021.

 “We are witnessing brain drain over the years. It is alarming. And, I believe it has something to do with the welfare of the medical personnel

“I urge the Federal Government to do something about this urgently.”

Meanwhile, while commending the Federal Government for the initiative of setting up the BHCPF, the NGF Chairman who noted that it was important that the momentum of making the fund realizable was  not slowed down, however assured the Federal government and the Ministry  of transparency and accountability in the management of the fund by states, adding  that its disbursement by the Forum will be based on the performance of the recipient states.

 “Health remains our priority as Governors, with a focus on building a resilient healthcare platform committed to routine immunization and total eradication of polio in the country,” he said.

In his remarks, the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire corroborated the Governor on the issue of brain drain. He  noted  that out of the 3000 medical doctors that graduate annually in the country no fewer than 1000 leave the country every year. 

According to him,  the Federal Government has been trying to create more space to employ these personnel despite demands for higher remuneration. He identified experienced consultants as those who are less likely to stay back in the country and those with the incentive to do so is abysmal. 

He said, “They are the ones that worry us most because it takes a lot of money to train them and it is difficult to meet their expectations.”

The Minister urged other state Governors to emulate Sokoto state government that has  dedicated lots of resources to training medical doctors, who are subsequently employed by it.

On his part, the Minister of State for Health, Hon. Joseph Ekumankama expressed gratitude to the NGF and the Governor for the visit. He observed  that with his new responsibility, the work of Governor Tambuwal will not be  limited to the health sector alone, but all facets of life that affects Nigerians

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