Brain Drain: UK-based Nigerian Medical Practitioner Calls for Implementation of 15% Abuja Health Declaration

Brain Drain: UK-based Nigerian Medical Practitioner Calls for Implementation of 15% Abuja Health Declaration

Kuni Tyessi in Abuja

A Nigerian medical practitioner and entrepreneur, based in the United Kingdom, Dr. Charles Ojukwu, has called on the federal government to as a matter of urgency, implement the 15 percent budgetary allocation to health, noting that this will help in curbing the menace of brain drain.

In an exclusive interview with THISDAY, Ojukwu noted that the World Health Declaration of 15 percent was at a time when the country’s population was less than 200 million, adding that with the present figures, the 15 percent benchmark was the appropriate thing to do.

He said while 70-80 percent of UK doctors of African descent are Nigerians in search of greener pastures, sincerity of purpose and commitment is needed starting from the governed to the leaders.

He said: “The government needs to look at what the WHO recommendation for budget is for health. Are we budgeting 15 percent in health based on the Abuja declaration?

“If the government wants improvement that is commensurate with growth, it must remember that our large population must be factored in. So if the declaration was pegged at 15 percent several years ago, then we should not be talking about this, we should be talking about more than 15 percent,  but we are not even doing up to 10 percent. Some states are not even doing up to five percent.

“So, you see, the government doesn’t have that provision that will service the health needs of the people. A lot of people set up quacks, chemists, hospitals and others which is contributing to the death rate of people in the country.

“We shouldn’t be discussing this kind of issues in today’s world if we want to make serious improvement in the health sector. How can you start going to the   police to get a report or certificate when somebody may be bleeding? So, the people making that law are not sincere while making that law.”

He added: “In advanced countries, gaining access to a doctor, must be on appointment and that can takes days, and not here when you wake up in the morning and decide that you want to see a doctor and that is made possible. So, access to see a doctor is far much better in Nigeria than abroad, however, the emergency preparedness and medical emergencies is next to nothing in Nigeria compared to abroad, and the point is the sincerity of purpose is lacking.

“I work in the emergency department and sometimes when I come to work, all the doctors on that day, about 80-90 percent of them would be Nigerian doctors. I am using the emergency department as an example because that’s where I work.”

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