Medical practitioners advise government on increasing exodus of Nigerian doctors

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Nigerian doctors have been migrating to U.S, Canada, Saudi Arabia, the UK and many other nations across the globe.

It is estimated that at least 12 Nigerian doctors leave the shores of this county to practice in other countries weekly.

To end this “brain drain” the Nigerian government has been advised to provide more funds, emoluments and incentives for medical practitioners.

The experts spoke during the opening ceremony and scientific conference of the Association of Resident Doctors’ 2018 Annual Health Week held on Wednesday.

Ekpe Phillips, the chairman of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), Abuja Branch, in his lecture at the event, advised the government to emulate the concept used by India to bring back their medical professionals who migrated to other countries.

He said “India was able to conquer brain drain because they offered an interest free loan to all their medical professionals abroad, the loan was for them to establish whatever facility of their dream in their country. The (Indian) government also provided incentives and a healthy working condition and their doctors came home. Today, India has joined the list of countries in brain gain! They make a whole lot of money in medical tourism.”

Mr. Phillips who was the guest speaker warned that if brain drain continues unchecked, it will lead to the collapse of the nation’s health sector.

“This exodus is continuously increasing. We produce 1600 doctors every year and 1200 are leaving the country. With the number of doctors getting old and retiring, you see there is no replacement which is a big problem that might lead to collapse of the Nigerian health system if not tackled.”

The NMA official also raised alarm on internal brain drain currently ongoing in the country. “Most doctors move from places such as Borno to the FCT, where they consider a more conducive environment. This is internal brain drain which should also be checked.”

While brain gain represents migration of intellectuals from other countries, health experts say the return of Nigerian doctors practicing abroad should be considered a brain gain for the country.

In his lecture, Edward Ogundaye, a health entrepreneur and activist, said more attention should rather be paid on curbing the trend of health experts leaving the country.

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