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Nigeria decries losing doctors to Gambia, others

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The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) in Kano State confirmed that its members are leaving the country for The Gambia, Somalia, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, every week.

The medical associations in Nigeria lamented that apart from the United Kingdom, Nigerian doctors, nurses and other health workers have found some African countries as destinations where they can earn up to $4000 salaries.

The Chairman of the Committee of Chief Medical Directors of Federal Tertiary Hospitals, Prof Emem Bassey, noted that “so many people are now going to places like Sierra Leone and Gambia and the wages they earn are $3000 to $4000.”

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The shortage of medical doctors and other healthcare professionals continued to bite hard across Nigerian major teaching and general hospitals, according to the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) who cited poor working conditions and the failure of the government to carry out recruitment.

The NARD had confirmed that a ward at the Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospital (OAUTH), Ile Ife, Osun State, which is the Behavioral Science/Psychiatry section was also shut down due to shortage of personnel.

The House of Representatives Committee on Health raised concerns over relocation of Nigerian doctors and nurses abroad which had caused a decline in the country’s health manpower.

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The committee had disclosed that due to such rush abroad, the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) for instance has five wards comprising 150 beds which have been shut down over shortage of personnel.

The Chairman of the committee, Dr Amos Magaji, had described the situation as worrisome saying the legislative arm is working toward nipping the increasing rate of Nigerians going abroad for medical tourism in the bud.

He had said the Nigeria health workers migration overseas has taken a huge toll on the country’s health system affirming that “the japa” syndrome would be curtailed by building state-of-the-art infrastructure and making the sector attractive and rewarding to workers irrespective of their fields.

Similarly, over 162 medical doctors relocated to other countries across the world within the same period under review.

“Many medical doctors and other categories of healthcare workers are exiting the state in droves. So, I cannot tell you the exact number of doctors and nurses that have left the country. I can only give you an estimate,” Dr Magaji added.

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