By Joseph Erunke
THE Nigerian Medical Association, NMA, has called on government to act fast to stop its members from migrating abroad resulting in brain drain in the health sector.
The FCT chapter of NMA which said this,hinted that it was in talk with members to consider service to their fatherland in the face of government nonchalant attitudes to their plights.
The Public Relations Officer of the chapter,Dr Muyiwa Komolafe,who spoke on a telephone interview with Vanguard,said:”Brain drain is not going to end anytime soon because apparently as it is, there is really no incentives to make people stay here and serve in their country.
“However,we are trying to talk to each other to soft-pedal that there are economic realities because you can imagine somebody earning in pounds and Dollars with the rate of exchange of the Naira. That is another factor driving people to leave the country. We are talking to members to consider service to our country in spite of the environment outside.
“Some other things which people are supposed to look at is the possibility that if you are at home, you are in your own country and you can walk around without fear of being castigated, harassed and being called all manner of names and all of that. Those people, it’s not as if they are actually friendly to us.
“Insecurity is one of the reasons people are leaving. Many of our colleagues have fallen prey to bad security situation in the country and this area is contributing to the migration of our people outside the shores of this country thus causing the brain drain.
“You cannot be kidnapped overseas. The police will be at the forefront of the matter unlike here that even the police is not free from kidnap.
“Family pressure is also contributing to the migration of our members abroad. Almost every of our members is being told my family to move abroad. Families mock us, saying ‘you what are you doing here when your members are going abroad or is it that you can’t pass the exam to go abroad? So every family wants their own person to go abroad so as to benefit from the hard currencies. This is putting pressure on us that our members move outside.
“When you see your colleagues that just moved abroad buying new cars and even for their fathers and doing other things and you can’t even remove N30,000 for your father,why would you not want to go abroad? Seeing all these and want to stay back is even depressing.
“However,some people have chosen to stay back and serve their country in spite of these factors. Some of our colleagues go outside the country for training and in spite of the tempting environment there,they still come back here to serve.
“There are however bad situation outside. The environment is different,our people out there will not tell you all the bad things they are passing through. So it’s a mixture of mixed feelings. You cannot be over there working and put on your phones. Over there, your phone will be switched off but here in Nigeria, you can have your phones beside you in case of emergency,so there are pros and cons to it but the fact remains that the Nigeria’s health sector has reached emergency level and government has to do something very quickly to stop it from degenerating further.”