Miffed by the exodus of highly trained medical and health manpower seeking for greener pastures outside the country amidst COVID-19 pandemic, the Medical and Dental Consultant’s Association of Nigeria (MDCAN) has stated that the fragile health sector risked total collapse if the pathetic situation is not addressed.
The National President of the Association, Professor Ken Ozoilo, who stated this on Wednesday while reading the communique issued by MDCAN at the end of its virtual Executive Council meeting noted with alarm the very high rate of emigration of Nigeria’s highly trained medical and health manpower to greener pastures.
He stated that the failure of the government to recognise the nexus between this massive brain drain and the COVID-19 recovery efforts in destination countries was most worrisome and noted that while these countries have put in place measures to recover their health systems, including boosting personnel by luring its members with lucrative conditions of service, the Nigerian government has not put in place any serious measure to retain these highly skilled manpower.
“The link between the dilapidated state of the economy, poor remuneration, inadequate health infrastructure/equipment and highly volatile security situation are also factors forcing doctors to emigrate. It is worthy of note that this brain drain also constitutes a terrible drain on Nigeria’s economy as huge amounts of taxpayer’s money is invested in training these doctors.”
Professor Ozoilo called on the Federal Government to recognise the mass exodus of highly qualified health manpower trained at expense of the Nigerian people’s money as national emergency adding that the interplay of several factors including the economy, insecurity, facilities and job satisfaction in promoting this brain drain needs to be recognised.
He said: The time has come for the government to begin to take active steps to examine the problem and advance solutions, or risk imminent collapse of the already fragile health system. A good starting point is increased health system funding and appropriate remuneration of personnel, with particular attention to the workplace environment, including safety and comfort of patients and personnel.
“We also reiterate the need to elevate the retirement age of doctors upwards as has been done for Judges, Lecturers and most recently, Teachers. It simply does not make sense to continue to retire such highly experienced personnel at the current age of 60, when our health sector is facing a monumental crisis occasioned by previously poor indices, a ravaging pandemic and an unmitigated brain drain simultaneously.”
He also pointed out that the NEC of the Association condemned the cancellation of the Vice-Chancellor selection process in Lagos State University and warned that the association will not tolerate any situation where any of its members is disenfranchised on the basis of non-possession of PhD.
“We cannot be employed on the basis of our fellowship and later have the goal post changed to PhD, especially against the backdrop of the poorly compensated quality that we bring to the university system in the production of highly sought-after doctors both at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels, nationally and internationally.”
Health sector risks total collapse over exodus of doctors, others ― MDCAN