Brain Drain: Gambia, others offer Nigerian doctors $4000

Gaddafi IbrahimAugust 31, 20234 min

Prof. Bassey said the need for urgent replacement of health workers owing to brain drain, poses a major challenge in complying with the Federal Character Act.

The Chairman of the Committee of Chief Medical Directors/Medical Directors of Federal Tertiary Hospitals, Prof. Emem Bassey, has informed that African countries are poaching Nigerian medical doctors and other health professionals.

This is as he revealed that countries like Sierra Leone and Gambia are offering Nigerian doctors up to $3000 – $4000 in wages.

Bassey, who is also the Chief Medical Director, CMD, of the University of Uyo Teaching Hospital, revealed this on Wednesday when he appeared before the House of Representatives ad hoc committee probing employment racketeering in federal government agencies as well as health institutions.

Bassey also said that the health sector is currently undergoing a major crisis in terms of manpower, as health professionals are leaving Nigeria in droves to other countries of the world in search of greener pastures.

READ ALSO: Brain Drain: Senator Oloriegbe advocates special categorisation for health workers

He further noted that doctors often strike because the government fails to meet unrealizable promises.

He says, “Some African countries are also beginning to poach from Nigeria. The West Coast is looking for our specialists. So many people are now going to places like Sierra Leone and Gambia, and the wages they earn 3000, 4000 dollars. It is about three to four times what they earn back home. So we are beginning to see that people are leaving for other African countries too.

“The health sector is currently undergoing a major crisis in terms of manpower due to brain drain.  What we are seeing is that medical specialists, not just doctors, even nurses, in fact, more nurses are even leaving. Doctors, nurses, laboratory scientists, physiotherapists, radiographers, and all manner of health professionals are leaving the country in droves.

The CMD also cited the urgent need to replace health practitioners, who have left the country as a reason for not complying with the federal character during recruitment.

“That is part of the problem we are facing. Replacement of these health workers is a major problem. This is because, even though, we are usually granted approvals to recruit, getting the waivers is a tortuous process.”

“Due to the urgency of the need to replace various health professionals who leave, it is difficult to comply with federal character in recruitment.

On incessant strike actions by doctors, he explained that previous governments had in a bid to get doctors back to work, strikes, repeatedly come up with agreements that were not attainable.

“A strike should be the very last option, but one of the things we have seen has been the fact that we receive continued threats. And instead of, I would say, governments in the past sitting down to negotiate resolutions that are feasible, just because you want to end a strike.

“They come up with agreements that they cannot implement. Then, after a certain period, six months or one year, and it is not implemented it, people go on strike. So we need to sit down together,” he stated.

Responding, the Chairman of the ad hoc committee, Rep. Yusuf Gagdi, appealed to medical doctors and associated medical personnel to not abandon the country over issues of poor welfare and lack of Health Services infrastructure but, instead,  show patriotism by staying back to contribute to national development.

He also assured that the committee would work towards addressing the need to balance compliance to reflect federal character and filling up urgent vacancies in the health sector.

The lawmaker, who lamented the plight of doctors said, “I admit there is lack of advanced medical facilities in our health sector. This is a fact, and we must, as a government, pay attention to that. Where we are confused is the aspect of lack of patriotism.

“You are produced by Nigerian institutions. We acknowledge the brain drain and are trying to find solutions. We are happy to see you here. A lot of you have the connections maybe based on the value of your intellect to be in developed countries and provide services to them. But, most of you find fashion in adding value to your own motherland and fatherland”.

Gadgi continued, “We would review your submissions entirely. For these institutions that have pending recruitment cases, we would interface with them uniquely. For those of you who don’t have one, we will look into your issue.”

 

 

Gaddafi Ibrahim

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