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Brain drain: Fayemi recommends witholding of health workers’ licence for fixed period

Former Governor of Ekiti State, Dr Kayode Fayemi has enjoined the federal government to set up a national health service scheme to enable newly licenced…

Former Governor of Ekiti State, Dr Kayode Fayemi has enjoined the federal government to set up a national health service scheme to enable newly licenced health workers spend a fixed period ranging from three to five years before leaving the country for greener pastures.

He made the call on Friday in Abuja during the induction ceremony for newly appointed state commissioners of health  organized by the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) and the Nigeria Health Commissioners Forum (NHCF).
He said, “Whilst you are doing that, their licence is held by the Nigerian dental and medical registration body. After serving the fixed period in the country, they can decide if they want to stay or leave.”
Fayemi who is also a past chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, said  countries that want to recruit doctors and other health workers from Nigeria, should pay for the training.
“I would say equivalent of training two doctors if you are taking one doctor out of our system. It is like tree planting. You go into the forest, when you do deforestation, afforestation must follow,  and  afforestation must be encouraged. In fact, for every tree you cut, you must replace with two trees planted. You must give enough funding for training those two doctors,” he said.
He said people obtain loans to go for medical training in the United States of America and keep paying years after, adding that in Nigeria, doctors who had been trained virtually free by the Nigerian state have not given a dime out of what they are making.
He said, “Yes, you may say that they are repatriating money back to their family and friends. But what about about the infrastructure, our health infrastructure and health institutions? “
However, Fayemi called on governors to improve funding for the health sector to strengthen the health system and improve remuneration for health workers.
 WHO Representative in Nigeria, Dr. Walter Kazadi Mulombo advised the new commissioners, to keep primary health care high on the agenda of their governments, and ensure priority investment in its development.
He  said, the health situation in Nigeria requires uncommon approaches to make a remarkable difference.
He added that this is underscored by the ongoing increase in the burden of non-communicable diseases,  high burden of communicable diseases, multiple outbreaks, and the highest out-of-pocket expenditure on health in the region.
 He added that  more Nigerians were falling into poverty due to ill health while many do not have access to quality essential health services they need.
Chair, Nigeria Commissioners for Health Forum, Dr Oyebanji Filani said the aim of the induction ceremony was to equip commissioners of health with the knowledge, skills, and ethical foundations necessary for good governance.
He said the aim was deeply rooted in the forum’s desire to bolster the capacity of health commissioners in the strategic, inter-sectoral, and socio-political management of health systems.

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