…it’s unfortunate and ill-advised —Dr. Saliu Oseni, Chairman Lagos NMA
In his own reaction, the Chairman of the Nigerian Medical Association, Lagos State branch, Dr. Saliu Oseni, described the statement as unfortunate.
Oseni, a pediatric surgeon, however, said the Minister might have been quoted out of context.
“It is an unfortunate incident, but I want to believe the Minister was quoted out of context. However, we have a situation where the inappropriate welfare package for doctors is resulting in brain drain and we now want to import doctors at a rate much more than the home doctors are demanding.
“We have so many young doctors and qualified specialists that are yet to be employed despite the extreme shortage and inadequate doctors to population ratio.
“What needs to be done is to first employ doctors who are unemployed in Nigeria then create a conducive working environment for the brain drain to be converted to brain gain like we have been saying.”
Oseni argued that if the welfare package is improved and the working environment is much improved, that will stem the brain drain and eventually, those out there would come back.
He called for review, transparency, and seamlessness of the exit replacement policy.
When a staff resigns, completes training or retires, it should not take forever or unnecessary bureaucracy to replace them within one to two months.
If this truly is the Minister’s comment then he is seriously ill-advised and we will have a long way to go to improve our health system.
“Regular employment is another key thing to look into. It is high time we looked into increasing the retirement age of doctors and health workers to 65 or 70 so we can maximise the doctors we have on the ground. Many doctors are still very active at 60 years of age when they are due for retirement.”