The Federal Government has said that efforts are being made to ensure an end to mass exodus of medical workers from Nigeria to foreign countries.

This was disclosed by the Health Minister, Professor Isaac Adewole, when he spoke in Abakaliki during the annual general conference/delegates meeting of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA).

The minister, who was represented by the Chief Medical Director of Alex Ekwueme Federal Teaching Hospital in Abakaliki, Dr. Emeka Onwe, said government is very concerned over the increasing rate of brain drain in the country’s medical sector.

According to him, part of government efforts to stop the trend is the setting up of a Diaspora programme which is meant to engage doctors who have acquired latest skills and knowledge that would help transform the health sector.

“I am not particularly happy with the latest trend of doctors leaving the country to other lands for greener pastures. We shall continue to ensure that the welfare of the health workforce is improved. Our effort at centralising the internship posting of newly graduated doctors had received the support of the Federal Government and would be rolled out within the year.

“The ministry will continue to improve on these activities to discourage the exodus in order to make increased contribution to our healthcare delivery,” he said.

Adewole regretted that “in many cases, most local government areas’ health facilities do not have a doctor. These are unrelated to poor welfare and remuneration package at various levels among other factors.”

Speaking at the event, NMA president, Dr. Francis Adedayo Faduyile, revealed that 2,000 medical workers leave the country annually to other countries.

Explaining that it was for that reason the theme of the meeting is tagged ‘Skill repatriation in the health sector: Turning Nigeria’s brain drain to brain gain’, he said:

“We believe that this ugly situation can be turned to an advantage hence the need to bring this to the front burner for discussion and proffer a way out to the country’s advantage.”

The Minister of Labour and Productivity, Chris Ngige, who is also a medical doctor, was recently quoted as denying brain drain in Nigeria health sector, saying that Nigerian medical workers who feel they can travel abroad to practice their profession are free to do so because the country has more than enough.

He has meanwhile denied the claim, saying he was misquoted.Ripples