Five years mandatory practice: Medical doctors draw battle line

Nigeria’s House of Representatives is in the news following a bill seeking to stop medical doctors from seeking greener pastures less than 5 years after medical school.

The action of the parliament came as a reaction to the exodus of medical doctors within the last few years.

Brain drain has become a serious challenge in Nigeria’s health sector, with the nation losing healthcare workers in droves to other countries.

This imminent crisis has overwhelmed government authorities, with no plan to tackle it wholesomely.

According to the World Health Organisation, WHO, Nigeria suffers from insufficient doctors and has a doctor-patient ratio over five times lower than the organisation’s recommendation.

DAILY POST reported how the country loses hundreds of doctors annually to brain drain, many of which are to the United Kingdom (UK).

Health officials say at least 5,600 Nigerian medical doctors have migrated to the United Kingdom (UK) alone in the last eight years.

In August 2022, the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) said a total collapse of the health sector is imminent if urgent steps are not taken to address the brain drain in the sector.

The association called for an emergency solution, adding that with the trend of medical doctors leaving the country, there may be a need to hire doctors from foreign countries in the future.

Earlier this year, the National President of the Medical and Dental Consultants of Nigeria, MDCAN, Dr. Victor Makanjuola revealed that over 500 medical consultants have left the country within the last two years.

Also, in October last year, the Kaduna State Chapter of the Nigeria Medical Association, NMA, raised an alarm that something urgently needed to be done to arrest the continued brain drain of medical personnel in Kaduna State.

The association observed that no fewer than 10,000 doctors left Nigeria for greener pastures in the last seven years, a situation it said had become disturbing.

Similarly, governors of the thirty-six states under the umbrella of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, NGF, had expressed concern over the prevalence of brain drain in the health sector late last year.

Sokoto State Governor and Chairman of the Forum, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, pointed out the forum’s fears when he visited Dr Osagie Ehanire, the Minister of Health, in Abuja.

In March this year, WHO identified 55 countries, including Nigeria, as having the most pressing workforce challenges related to Universal Health Coverage.

Following the development, the UK placed Nigeria and 53 other countries on the red list of countries that should not be actively targeted for recruitment by health and social care employers



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