Stakeholders in the health sector under the auspices of the Health Sector Transformation Coalition (HTC) have once again reiterated the need to put the issue of brain drain which has pervaded the nation’s health sector on the front burner as a new political dispensation draws near.
In a symposium held recently in Marriott Hotel, Lagos with the theme; “The Imperatives of Addressing Brain Drain in the Nigerian Health Sector”, the Convener, Dr. Jide Idris said the coalition was inspired to fill a gap in the polity by bringing together seasoned and upcoming practitioners across various segments in the health care delivery sector to address and proffer solutions to mass migration of Nigerian professional health workers to in search of greener pasture.
The coalition, according to Dr Jide Idris who was a former commissioner for Health in Lagos State consists of the various disciplines and cadres of healthcare professionals in the public and private sectors, drawn from across the 36 states, the FCT and the diaspora.
He also said that there is an urgent need to reposition Nigeria’s healthcare delivery system and reverse the tide of brain drain in the sector by putting health on the political agenda of the incoming government.
“With the aim of ensuring that the healthcare system in Nigeria is repositioned for efficiency and sustainability by proactively contributing to the development of health policies and implementation strategies for the new administration in 2023 the coalition provides a fertile ground for generating and nurturing ideas from a bottom-up approach,” he added.
The first session with the topic: why young health professions want to “JAPA” addressed the reasons why this has recently become rampant from the perspective of the students and younger professionals who seized the opportunity to proffer various solutions on how to stem the tide.
The second session with the topic: Brain Gain; Thriving in the Nigerian Healthcare Space, Exploring the untapped Potential saw various professionals in the health sector who had at one time left the country but have returned to Nigeria and contributing greatly to the sector share their experiences and give insights to the younger ones on the untapped opportunities in the sector.
The symposium also featured panel discussions with the first session dwelling on “Why I must ‘japa’? Aspiration of a Newly Qualified Healthcare Professional” while the second session focused on ” Brain gain: thriving in the Nigerian Health Care Space, Exploring the Untapped Potential.
As part of the coalition’s activities, it held its first symposium in Abuja the Federal capital territory with the theme “Repositioning the Health Sector: Creating the Pathway for an Effective Health System, post 2023” where participants unanimously agreed that one of the main challenges facing the healthcare delivery system is work force and the issue of Brain Drain.
Feedback from the Abuja symposium made the coalition deem it necessary to have another symposium to address this challenge and give opportunity to the younger ones in the sector to discuss the topic and proffer solutions, since they are the ones mostly affected.
At the end of the Lagos symposium, stakeholders concluded that the journey to repositioning the Health sector and reversing the tide of brain drain is a collective responsibility which political actors must necessarily buy into in order for it to come to fruition in due course.
They also agreed that given the importance of an efficient health care delivery system to national development, voters in the forthcoming elections should give adequate consideration to the track records of aspirants in the area of development of health care infrastructure and human capital during their previous tenures in office.
The symposium, which was a hybrid programme, was attended in person by over 250 physical participants and over 600 online participants, some of whom are managers of major health care delivery institutions across the country, former and current actors in health policy formulation as well as young and upcoming professionals in health care delivery.