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5-year practice bill won’t stop doctors’ brain drain – Senator

The Chairman Senate Committee on Health, Senator Ibrahim Oloriegbe, has said the proposed bill mandating a Nigerian medical doctor to practice for at least five…

The Chairman Senate Committee on Health, Senator Ibrahim Oloriegbe, has said the proposed bill mandating a Nigerian medical doctor to practice for at least five years before being granted a full licence will not curb the brain drain.

There has been a general outcry over the high number of Nigerian medical personnel migrating to other countries.

Recently, a bill was sponsored by a lawmaker from Lagos, Hon. Ganiyu Abiodun Johnson, which has passed the second reading in the House of Representatives, proposing a mandatory five years of work in Nigeria by Nigerian doctors before being given a full practicing licence

However, Sen. Oloriegbe who has chaired the health committee in the senate for four years, argued that most of the doctors leaving are not young doctors.

He spoke from Saudi Arabia on a Channels Television programme, Politics Today, on Wednesday night.

He said, “Firstly, it’s not only doctors that are leaving even within the medical profession, we have nurses that are leaving. They are also critical to delivering quality health services.

“Two, the doctors that are leaving are not the new graduates. Most of the doctors that are leaving that are more critical to us are those that have been trained beyond the basic training; they are specialists. Those are the ones that give us much more concern.

“The third issue is that the solution being proffered will not solve the problem, it will rather create more problems for us. The cause of why doctors are leaving cannot just be solved by saying you will deny them a licence. You have to address the cause.

“The causes are the remuneration is not up to what we can say is a take home for a doctor that has been trained for such years and the condition of service.”

Oloriegbe called on the Federal Government to rather invest more in the health sector, pay doctors better and give them some incentives and motivation such as mortgage and car loans, adding that these would encourage them to stay back in the country.

“The other thing which is very critical is the working environment”, he added, saying that not having the tools to work is a major reason the medical practitioners were leaving the country.

The senator said the government must stabilise the environment in terms of security and the economy, calling on the President-elect, Ahmed Bola Tinubu to increase allocation to the health sector.

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