From Gyang Bere, Jos
The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) has called on the Federal Government to declare emergency in the health sector with a view to addressing the myriads of challenges including brain drain in the sector.
The National President, Dr. Uche Roland Ojinmah, who spoke during a press conference to mark the 2022 Physicians week said Nigeria was battling its worst situation of brain drain in history, as no fewer than 10, 296 Nigerian-trained doctors were practising in the United Kingdom.
“Statistics has shown that between January 1 and September 30, about 1,307 doctors trained in Nigeria were licensed in the United Kingdom.
“Over 10, 296 doctors who obtained their degrees in Nigeria currently practice in the UK, dispersion of the emigration data for Nigeria trained doctors to UK was 233 in 2015; 279 in 2016; 475 in 2017; 852 in 2018 ; 1347 in 2019 in spite of the COVID 19 pandemic and 932 in 2021 during recovery from COVID.
“Currently, Nigeria has the third highest number of foreign doctors working in the UK after India and Pakistan. Meanwhile we are losing our human resources from health in geometric progression, Lassa viral hemorrhagic fever, Malaria, COVID, Ebola, Marburg etc are still very much available in the face of worsening incidences of systemic hypertension with or without complications, diabetes mellitus with or without complications, osteoarthritis. We call on government to quickly declare emergency action in Nigeria’s health care sector for the sake of her citizens.”
The association noted that Nigerian doctors were poorly paid, overworked, lack necessary working tools and has become a target for kidnap and other form of insecurity.
Ojinmah also expressed dissatisfaction over the welfare of members amidst lack of facilities and infrastructure.
“We, as Nigerian doctors, have been taken from the lofty heights of nobility to nothingness by the neglect and possible disdain for the health sector by successive governments. The penchant of state governments for seizing or slashing our salaries and paying it piecemeal at their convenience, without interest, has become subject of folklore and hence, cannot be allowed to continue.
“On the need to review CONMESS, let me inform you that the ball is now in the court of the governments and they are foot-dragging.
“Let no one take our civility for weakness as we shall do all within the limits of legality to protect the interest of Nigerian doctors, while the governments continue in their ‘search’ for obvious reasons behind medical brain drain.”
The association president, however, sent condolences to citizens affected by the flooding in some parts of the country.
He said the association had shelved the national opening ceremony of its Physicians’ Week slated for Bayelsa as a result of the massive flooding affecting the Niger Delta state and some others with attendant loss of human lives and properties thereby dampening the mood of the nation.
“We pray for a quick resolution and recovery. We call on our governments at different levels to work together in helping victims to recover quickly.
“We call on the Federal Government to actively initiate measures to avert another flooding. This is one flood too many in our recent history as a nation; we say no more floods while we watch.”
Ojinmah added that the era of blind loyalty was over, and urged the people to patiently wait to hear the plans of the presidential candidates for Nigeria, especially in the health sector before pitching their political support tent.