Doctors Call for Incentives, Policies, Programmes to End Brain Drain

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Kuni Tyessi in Abuja

Doctors have said it was long overdue for Nigeria to develop robust nationalistic policies and programmes that would promote the common good of doctors and prevent brain drain.

They said the common good was for creating a healthcare system that delivers good outcomes such that no one needs to travel out as the health of the nation is expected to be paramount to the government and the general citizenry.

This was disclosed in a statement signed by a Consultant Urological Surgeon, University of Benin School of Medicine and Teaching Hospital, Dr. Samuel Osaghae and Consultant Neurological Surgeon, Brain and Spine Surgery Consortium, Abuja, Dr. Biodun Ogungbo.

While bemoaning the spate of medical brain drain, the duo emphasised that real solutions may be found in the courage of government intervention and legislative actions towards developing a package of measures, beginning with maximum opportunities for local training for all medical graduates under satisfactory, attractive terms and conditions of service that may dissuade emigration.

They said, “We do not have enough doctors in Nigeria. We are also losing the ones we have managed to produce and train to other countries, at the detriment of our healthcare system. Our patients including government officials and their families are leaving the country for medical tourism because our healthcare system is in distress. Some patients are even travelling abroad to see Nigerian doctors who had left the country.

“The reduced number of medical doctors and of course, other specialists is interfering with the delivery of quality of care in Nigeria, hence, fuelling medical tourism. Lack of doctors in numbers and lack of well-trained specialists in particular, impacts on care and promotes poor outcomes. Even forgetting the huge amounts lost yearly to medical tourism, we are losing the crème de la crème of our society.

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“Right now, many young doctors are frustrated and disillusioned. Medicine has failed to deliver or meet their expectations. Poor job prospects, poor salaries, poor conditions of work and service, poor remunerations and poor training facilities are all they have. We need to stop destroying our young doctors.

“The future of healthcare in Nigeria is in the private sector. Hence, we must encourage entrepreneurship that delivers more hospitals in more corners of the country. This can be through single digit loans and removal of heavy handed bureaucracy. We also need to create a soft landing for medical doctors in the diaspora. We must encourage them to return through collaborations with the teaching hospitals and public/private partnerships.”