The Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, has said that to address the brain drain in the sector, the federal government is setting up a mechanism to engage Nigerian doctors and nurses in the diaspora and connect them with universities and hospitals in the country.
Speaking in Abuja on Tuesday at the 17th edition of the President Muhammadu Buhari (PMB) Administration” Scorecard Series (2015-2023), he lamented that experienced doctors were leaving the country.
Ehanire said a lot of doctors and nurses in Nigeria felt they were not properly rewarded for the work they were doing.
The minister said the federal government was trying to address the issue by improving the conditions of service for medical personnel.
He, however, noted that there was high mobility of health workers globally and that Nigeria should not be seen as the only country affected.
He said, “I was at a meeting where the minister of health of Gambia was complaining too that the doctors they have, some of them have left. I also spoke with authoritative in the UK who also complained that their doctors are going to Canada and New Zealand where their pay is better.
“So they require lots of people because there is a high need in those countries. So mobility is global and not that we are doing something wrong but market forces working globally. The situation is the same in Turkey and Egypt.
“So, we are trying to measure performance and let people be happy they are properly rewarded for what they have done.”
“What we are also doing is to do what they call the conversion of brain drain to brain gain. We are doing that with a new mechanism that is being set up now to engage Nigerian doctors and nurses in the diaspora and connect them with universities and hospitals because modern technology makes it possible for somebody to be delivering lectures in New York and we have people here listening to it. So we can have those who are ready to transfer knowledge to do so.
“Also, those who have to do surgery or see a patient can book periods during which they will come. So, they can be affiliated with a particular teaching hospital and come in with cutting-edge knowledge and skills to come here and pass this knowledge on.”
Speaking further, the minister said the government was still vigilant and that there was a high level of preparedness at Nigeria’s entry points to prevent a fresh outbreak of COVID-19.
He said, “The observed increase in the number of cases in China, USA and Europe is seasonal and it is not unexpected during the winter.
“So, the recent relaxation also affects the rising in cases with the removal of travel restrictions.”