The House of Representatives, on Tuesday, decried the mass exodus of workers in the health sector, calling on the Federal Government to discourage the migration of health workers to other countries.
The House specifically urged the Ministry of Labour, Employment, and Productivity to “review the salary, allowances, and welfare of Nigerian medical practitioners.”
The House also called on the Ministry of Labour, Employment and Productivity to “consider expanding the size of the medical practitioner in the country to create employment for the unemployed ones and develop a functional strategy that will attract diaspora medical personnel to work at various teaching hospitals.”
In addition, the lawmakers mandated the ministry to ensure employment of Nigerian medical practitioners, while mandating the House Committee on Health Care Services to “call other relevant stakeholders for an interactive session in other to proffer a lasting solution to brain drain of medical personnel from Nigeria.”
These are the prayers of a motion moved by a member, Ganiyu Johnson, titled ‘Need to Address the Increasing Rate of Brain Drain of Medical Personnel from Nigeria,’ which was unanimously adopted by the House.
Moving the motion, Johnson said, “The House notes that Nigeria has one of the leading stocks of human resources for health in Africa but has failed to meet the health attention of its over 200 million people as a result of brain drain.
“The House also notes that the Nigeria Medical Association, in 2016, gave the statistics of about 5,000 medical workers leaving the country annually to developed countries, making Nigeria the highest source of foreign-born medical practitioners abroad.
“The House is aware from studies that Nigeria has over 90,000 qualified medical doctors practising abroad and, in fact, an average of 50 doctors who had their primary medical education in Nigeria are said to be registering for practice every week in the United Kingdom, United States of America, Canada and the oil-rich countries.
“The House is also aware that Saudi Arabia’s health ministry visits Nigeria every year to conduct screening for intending medical practitioner, both in Abuja and Lagos, to take them to their country for employment, and Nigerian doctors are struggling for visa at the British High Commission to travel to their country after they have even passed their compulsory Professional Linguistic Assessment Board exams at the British Council.”
Johnson listed some factors responsible for the development to include inadequate infrastructure, poor human resources planning, management practices and structures, unsatisfactory working conditions characterised by heavy workloads and other factors such as lack of professional autonomy, poor supervision and support, long working hours, unsafe workplaces, inadequate career structures, poor working conditions and poor compensation packages.
He added, “The exodus of medical practitioners in Nigeria has in particular contributed to acute shortages of specialised and experienced health professionals in the country and if not curbed, it will be tough for Nigeria to tackle poverty because health is actually the wealth.”