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Nigerian doctors moving to Sierra Leone, Gambia, CMDs lament

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Chairman of the Committee of Chief Medical Directors/Medical Directors of Federal Tertiary Hospitals, Prof Emem Bassey, yesterday, lamented that the health sector is facing a manpower crisis as professionals leave the country in droves.

According to him, other African countries are now poaching Nigerian medical doctors and health professionals.

Bassey, who is the CMD of the University of Uyo Teaching Hospital, disclosed this when he appeared before the House of Representatives ad hoc committee probing employment racketeering in Federal Government agencies.

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He showed up alongside the heads of other health institutions in the country.

Bassey noted: “Some African countries are beginning to poach from Nigeria. The West Coast is looking for our specialists. So many people are now going to places, like Sierra Leone and Gambia, and the wage they earn is about $3000, $4000. It is about three to four times what they earn back home.”

Explaining the manpower crisis, Bassey told lawmakers: “What we are seeing is that medical specialists, not just doctors…In fact, even more nurses are leaving. Doctors, nurses, laboratory scientists, physiotherapists, radiographers and all manner of health professionals are leaving the country in droves.”

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He stressed: “That is part of the problem we are facing. Replacement of these health workers is a very major challenge. This is because even though we are usually granted approvals to recruit, getting the waivers is a tortuous process.”

He said due to the urgency involved in replacing health professionals that leave, “it is difficult to comply with federal character in recruitments”.

Meanwhile, chairman of the committee, Yusuf Gagdi, urged doctors to be patriotic by staying back to contribute to the development of the country.

He said: “I admit there is a lack of advanced medical facilities in our health sector. This is a fact, and we must, as a government, pay attention to that. Where we are confused is the aspect of lack of patriotism. You were produced by Nigerian institutions.”

He added: “We would review your submissions entirely. These institutions that have pending recruitment cases, we would interface with them uniquely.”

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