✕ CLOSE Online Special City News Entrepreneurship Environment Factcheck Everything Woman Home Front Islamic Forum Life Xtra Property Travel & Leisure Viewpoint Vox Pop Women In Business Art and Ideas Bookshelf Labour Law Letters

Doctors’ anti-migration bill and nurturing greener pasture in Nigeria

The brain drain in Nigeria has lingered for some time now. In the medical profession, it is the most dominant issue occupying the mind of…

The brain drain in Nigeria has lingered for some time now. In the medical profession, it is the most dominant issue occupying the mind of physicians and other health personnel. This may not be unconnected to the fact that human life is sacrosanct.

It goes that the incessant brain drain of medical personnel in Nigeria will slow the attainment of Universal Health Coverage (UHC) so that all people have access to the full range of quality health services they need, when and where they need them, without financial hardship, in this part of the world.

Mostly, the mass exodus of doctors out of the country is caused by poor welfare of medical practitioners, lack of or insufficient working equipment as well as poor working environment leading to the need for seeking a more sumptuous alternative – greener pasture as it is called.

Discussions have sprung over time on how to salvage the situation. Experts have suggested an increment in the welfare of doctors while others have voted for ending medical tourism especially by public officeholders to enable them to pay more attention to funding health facilities at home.

Sudan evacuation: Yet another Nigerian affair

Again, Buhari passes the buck

The most recent attempt in curbing the mortal exodus of medical practitioners is to shackle them with the power of the law. This is through a bill sponsored by Ganiyu Johnson, a lawmaker from Lagos. The bill seeks to amend the Medical and Dental Practitioners Act 2004, to address the brain drain in the health sector. According to the lawmaker, it is only fair for medical doctors who enjoy taxpayer subsidies on their training to give back to society.

The legislation is titled, ‘A Bill for an Act to Amend the Medical and Dental Practitioners Act, Cap. M379, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 to Mandate Any Nigeria Trained Medical or Dental Practitioner to Practice in Nigeria for a Minimum of Five Years Before being Granted a Full License by the Council to Make Quality Health Services Available to Nigeria; and for Related Matters.’

While the above is more restricted to medical and dental practitioners, the same lawmaker said on Friday, April 14, 2023, that he would be presenting a similar bill on nurses and pharmacists, when he intends to do that, time will tell.

With different medical associations reacting in negation, by stating that the bill has the propensity to trample on the rights of doctors, the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, said the bill is in order especially looking at the fees paid by the government to subsidise their training at universities, and the service which they render before travelling overseas. The service does not make up for the cost of training, the minister said.

The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) has said the bill will not see the light of the day because, it impedes the constitutional right to freedom of movement of doctors and is a violation of international labour law, chiefly since students from all other professions have also been subsidised by the government.

The Nigerian Medical Students Association (NiMSA) and the World Medical Association (WMA) have vehemently disapproved of it too because the bill according to the latter is “not only outlandish but totally retrogressive, unresearched and very ill-informed.”

I firmly believe that Nigeria has what it takes to cultivate the soil for growing ‘greener pasture’ our medical professionals continue to voyage foreign lands for. But only leaders fueled with altruism can summon the political will to do the needful.

Lawal Dahiru Mamman wrote from Abuja

Are you currently earning in Naira but need salary/earnings in Dollars? You have an opportunity to earn as much as $10,000 (₦9.2 million naira) monthly. Click here to get evidence.

%d bloggers like this: