The ability of Stakeholders led by Federal Government to drive the basic needs within the health sector would ensure needed recipes for reversal of brain drain in the country.
President Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) Dr. Francis Faduyile delivering the key address at the 2019 Annual Health Writers Association of Nigeria (HEWAN) in Lagos noted that there is need for deliberate drive by government to provide the needed infrastructure, budget and release sufficient funds for healthcare delivery as well as maintain balanced leadership role to all partners in the sector.
Faduyile in his presentation titled: “Curbing the High Rate of brain Drain in the Nigeria Health Sector” said, the NMA has repeatedly faulted the claims that brain drain has its advantage when there is remittance back to the country “it is erroneous to continue to believe that those who migrate are ever ready to return home when there is really nothing to encourage them to come back”.
According to Faduyile, “However that is not to say there are no remittances but the opportunity cost of these remittances in brain drain is at a huge cost to the clients who are at the receiving end and who would have no one to attend to them in the hours of medical need when the best brains are outside the shores thus leading to needless loss of lives.
The NMA Leader noted, “For there to be a reversal of brain drain in the country there must be deliberate commitment from government to fund health sector through improved budgeting, enhanced environment for good practices, stakeholders must also be ready to promote harmony through best universal practices while the media take the role of advocacy to ensure accurate reporting of well researched issues that will develop the sector” said Faduyile
He lamented that at the moment there are about a doctor to 10, 000 patients in the urban settlements of Nigeria with a doctor to between 22,000 to 25,000 clients in most remote areas of the country.
Welcoming participants to the event, former President, Association of General and Private Medical Practitioners of Nigeria (AGPMPN), Dr. Anthony Omolola want government to immediately declare a state of emergency in the health sector which he said is gradually going into comatose.
According to Omolola, “For an estimated 180m, we have about one doctor serving about 5000 clients in the most urban area like Lagos and with other challenges, as high as 22,000 or more in rural communities as we even have an entire local government area in the North with probably only one doctor while some do not even have any doctor especially in the far North.
“The Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria has about 72,000 doctors currently in the register and less than half are in Nigeria.
“With the current number of doctors that we have and other health workers in Nigeria, it is better we declare a state of emergency in respect of the availability of health personnel we have in this country”, said Omolola.
Omolola who criticized the 2019 budgetary allocation to the Health sector “as a mere paltry sum” expressed worry over the continued non-performance of budgets as a way to further depreciate the value of healthcare delivery and fuel brain drain in the country.
He advised that government need to take deliberate steps to finance healthcare facilities and modern tools to deliver modern health as no nation can grow health without needed tools and equipment to support manpower resources.