Stephen Ukandu, Umuahia
The Nigeria Medical Association, NMA, has decried the devastating effect of the current wave of brain drain in the medical sector, saying that the ugly trend had brought undue pressure on the remaining doctors in the country.
According to the National President of NMA, Dr Rowland Ojinmah, average of 50 medical doctors depart Nigeria on weekly basis in search of greener pastures abroad.
The NMA boss who made the lamentation while speaking with newsmen at the opening ceremony of 2022 Abia Physician’s Week, urged Government to take urgent measures to halt the trend.
Dr Ojinmah who lamented the poor working conditions of doctors in Nigeria, challenged all tiers of Government to fix the hospitals if they truly wanted to reverse the trend.
He particularly blamed State Governors for abandoning General Hospitals in their states most of which, he regretted, were in deplorable conditions.
The NMA boss argued that if State Governors give adequate attention to General Hospitals, the health sector would not have fallen to its current low state.
“The Governors are sleeping; They should not be waiting for the Federal Government alone. They should fix General Hospitals in their states to take care of the health needs to the citizenry at the local levels.”
Responding to a question on the reported poor condition of service that Nigerian doctors abroad especially the UK are subjected to, the NMA President said that would have been avoided if the Government fixed the hospitals in Nigeria.
He admitted that there were reports that Nigeria doctors are complaining of being overused relative to their counterparts.
“There is lopsidedness in job arrangement,” he said, but noted that if the Nigeria Government had fixed the health sectors, doctors would not be leaving the country in droves.
Corroborating this position, NMA Chairman, Abia State, Dr Isaiah Abali, said that the current brain drain in the health sector was weighing in on the remaining doctors in the country.
According to him, some doctors in the country are now slumping on duty due to stress and heavy workload.
“Work- related stress syndrome due to work overload had consistently threatened the quality of healthcare services provided by the doctors and other healthcare workers left behind in the country”, he lamented.
The NMA boss identified salary arrears and insecurity as the biggest challenges facing doctors in Abia State.
He also noted that the poor condition of service in the state hospitals had made some doctors and health workers in the state to migrate to federal institutions besides those leaving the shores of the country.
Dr Abali gave the theme of this year’s Physician’s Week as: “Nigeria’s Health Care System and the 2023 Democratic Transition: A Time to Change the Narrative.”