Minister To Turn Brain Drain To Brain Gain

President Muhammadu Buhari has directed the Minister of Health to turn around the incidence of brain drain in the health sector.Buhari disclosed this on Tuesday while receiving the new executive members of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.The President said he had directed the health minister, Dr Osagie Ehanire, who led the medical practitioners to the meeting, to find ways to convert the “brain drain” being experienced in the sector into “brain gain”.According to Buhari, this could be done by engaging top Nigerian medical professionals in the diaspora in knowledge and skill repatriation.He urged the medical association and other stakeholders to support his government’s initiatives in the sector.Buhari also said, through the Central Bank of Nigeria, his administration has loaned local pharmaceutical producers and healthcare investors N100 billion to increase their capital bases and boost local production of medicines and medical consumables.‘I commend our medical professionals for their contribution to Nigeria’s exemplary management of the COVID-19 pandemic, the control of malaria, HIV and Tuberculosis, and other feats also achieved by Nigerian doctors in the diaspora,” Femi Adesina, Special Adviser to the President on Media & Publicity quoted the President as saying.”Our response to the COVID-19 pandemic has been praised internationally and your members are key parts of this success.“I recall that in the last quarter of 2021, the immediate past NMA Executives visited me and presented recommendations for the health sector, which included, the review and amendment of the NHIS Act; upgrading and equipping existing health institutions; loans to fund hospital equipment; the repeal and re-enactment of the Medical and Dental Practitioners’ Act; and Appeal for more funding for the four (4) newly established Universities of Medical Sciences.“I am pleased to inform you that most of these recommendations have been addressed, whilst further action is being taken to study those involving cross-cutting administrative processes with legal implications.”The NMA in April 2022 said Nigeria lost over 9,000 medical doctors to the United Kingdom, Canada and the United States of America between 2016 and 2018.“Brain drain worsens the already depleted healthcare resources in developing countries like Nigeria and widens the gap in health inequities worldwide. Healthcare workers generally migrate from developing countries to more developed countries, leaving a scarcity of health workers where the need is greatest,” the immediate former NMA President, Innocent Ujah, stated during the Maiden NMA Annual Lecture Series in Abuja.According to him, Nigeria has a doctor-to-population ratio of about 1: 4000-5000, which falls short of the WHO recommended doctor-to-population ratio of 1:600.
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