President of the Nigerian Medical Association, Prof. Innocent Ujah, yesterday identified lack of work tools, poor conditions of work and insecurity as some of the reason responsible for medical doctors leaving the country in droves, seeking greener pastures abroad.
Ujah, who spoke on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily yesterday, stated that half of the doctors trained in Nigeria had moved abroad because they do not have to worry about work equipment and the safety of their families.
He said: “Many of the reasons are poor work environment, insecurity, poor remuneration and poor equipment to work with. I think these are some of the issues.
“Remuneration and environment in other countries like Europe, America and Saudi Arabia are far better than Nigeria. No doctor would want his children to be out of school, we want to have the best for our children.
“We believe that the appropriate thing to do is to have a conducive environment to work. We have lost over 20 of our doctors to COVID-19.
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“Many of our doctors are adopted and kidnapped; once there is insecurity in the land as it is, it becomes very difficult for people to stay.
“The best thing for us to do is to find a solution to this hydra-headed monster. It is not too difficult to reverse but we need commitment, focus and a clear understanding of the need to ensure that the few that we train stay back to render service to our people.
“Over 50 per cent of our doctors are outside the country, we estimate that about 80 thousand Nigerians have been trained as doctors but only about 40 thousand are at home. And these surely are not enough and adequate. Even where they are going to, their services are better than our own, they also have more doctors than we have.”
The NMA president, however, called on President Muhammadu Buhari to convene a meeting of stakeholders, including agencies and ministries and government agencies, to stem the brain drain affecting the country in the medical sector.
“The issue of brain drain had been a serious issue to medical practitioners, as a lot of Nigerians are going out of the country for many good reasons.
“We believe that the president needs to quickly direct the appropriate agencies and ministries to ensure that we have a roundtable meeting to be able to find out what could be done,” Ujah said.