Kaduna deputy governor Hadiza Balarabe, right at the NMA AGM in Kaduna

Gov. Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State said his government is packaging a host of incentives to attract doctors to work in the state.

His deputy, Hadiza Balarabe hinted about his plans at the Annual General Meeting and Scientific Conference of the Nigerian Medical Association, Kaduna branch on Saturday in Kaduna.

Although the governor was honoured with an award of excellence by the association, the governor admitted that his government is facing the problem of shortage of doctors. About 60 per cent of doctors quit after being employed by the state.

He said his government has a replacement plan on the way.

“We know people are leaving to seek for better chances elsewhere and we have plan and you will see them coming back,” El-Rufa’i said.

The state NMA Chairman, Dr Stephen Kache , said internal and external brain drain remained a huge challenge to healthcare delivery in the state.

He said the doctors who quit the state civil service leave for other states or countries in search of greener pastures due to poor remuneration, working conditions and other factors.

“On a general note however across all health institutions in the state the situation is similar to the national picture,” he said.

He therefore called on the state government to consider the outcome of the deliberations as handy tool for advancement of the state health care system

The theme of the event was, Brain Drain and Nigerian Health care system: challenges and way forward.

Papers will also be presented on Insecurity and health in Nigeria, and Acute Severe Malnutrition; Nigeria’s Silent crisis.

El-Rufai, who thanked NMA for the award, assured that his administration “is desirous in changing the narratives in health and other sectors with strong emphasis on putting people first and making lives better. ”

He noted that the government has enjoyed healthy relationship with the NMA, based on understanding and collaboration, while several platforms were provided to discuss issues that promote health, wellbeing and survival of the residents.

He described the theme of the conference as apt, saying quality manpower and facilities, as well as security were necessary to the provision of quality service in the health sector.