Nigerian governors worried over exodus of doctors

Governor Aminu Tambuwal

Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto

The Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF), has expressed worry over the preponderance of medical doctors seeking greener pastures abroad, to the detriment of the country.

Chairman of the Forum, Gov. Aminu Tambuwal, expressed concern when he paid the Minister of Health (FMOH), Dr. Osagie Ehanire, a courtesy visit in Abuja.

The governor, therefore, called for urgent measures to tackle the menace.

“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,” he said.

The NGF chairman also urged the Federal Government to ramp up the 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 him, 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.

He, however, said their efforts would come to naught if the alarming trend continued unchecked.

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

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While commending the Federal Government for the initiative of setting up the BHCPF, Tambuwal emphasized that the momentum of making the fund realistic, should not be slowed down.

He assured the government and the FMOH of transparency and accountability in the management of the fund by states, pointing out, however, that disbursement by the forum would 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.

Ehanire, in his remarks, corroborated the governor on the issue of brain drain, noting that 3000 medical doctors graduated annually in the country.

According to the minister, however, out of the number, 1000 leave the country every year.

He said this was in spite of the Federal Government’s efforts at creating more space to employ this personnel in the face of growing demands for higher remuneration.

“Out of the medical doctors, those who are less likely to stay back in the country, and for whom the incentive to do so is abysmal, are experienced consultants.

“They are the ones we are more worried about 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 the Sokoto State Government, which according to him dedicates a lot of resources to training medical doctors, who are subsequently employed by the government.

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