Former Governor of Ondo State, Dr Olusegun Mimiko, has said Nigerians may be catered for by native doctors if the brain drain among medical doctors persists.
Due to the economic hardship and poor welfare, many health workers are leaving the country in droves.
Six months ago, the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) said Nigeria has about 24, 000 actively licensed physicians caring for its over 200 million population as result of brain drain.
While speaking at the induction ceremony of medical students of the University of Medical Sciences, Ondo State, Mimiko said the government needs to urgently find lasting solutions to the mass exodus of medical personnel.
The ex-governor, who is also a medical doctor, said the development calls for drastic measures from the government.
According to him, if doctors emigrating from the country in droves is not checked, in less than a decade Nigeria may only have native doctors to turn to for treatment.
According to him, a situation where doctors and other health workers were trained at a subsidised rate in Nigeria and later abandoned the country for developed countries calls for huge concern.
He said, “We are in an emergency. If we continue at this rate, in another five to 10 years, only the “babalawos” (herbalists) will be available to take care of us. It is an emergency, and the government must see it as an emergency. The government must disincentivise the rate at which our medical doctors and medical personnel are emigrating from this country.
“We cannot continue to hold this nation unaccountable. We can take advantage of the opportunity for our professionals to learn new skills. I don’t think any serious government can fold its arms while other countries decide to empty it of its human resources, especially in the health sector.
“We are a great country; we have an incredible young population that is ready. This country has the capacity to train two million to three million students, but those countries that stand at that end to benefit from this training must also do something to expand our capacity to train our people.
“The government must take it up at a very high diplomatic level. We cannot fold our arms and allow all our best human resources to leave this country. It is like a war situation. But I know one thing for sure: if the government does the necessary things, it can be a win-win situation for us as a nation.”