Nigerian physicians and nurses are flocking to the United States in huge numbers – President Muhammadu Buhari.
President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed concern over the current widespread movement of physicians and nurses from West African nations, stating that it is creating a brain drain in the health sector.
Buhari has revealed the Federal Government’s intention to meet with physicians and nurses to discuss keeping the nation’s talented workforce, which has been educated at considerable cost to the state.
On Tuesday, the President spoke at an event in Abuja. “This problem (of inadequate health facilities) is further exacerbated by the significant brain drain experienced by the continent. The flight of doctors and nurses to other continents has resulted in a significant gap between the required treatments for NCDs and the available treatments and care,” President Buhari was quoted as saying in a statement by his spokesperson, Femi Adesina.
President Muhammadu Buhari recently stated that closer collaboration with the private sector would improve health facilities and access in the country, noting that a prosperous nation requires a healthy population.
According to Buhari, who was represented by the Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, the country loses about N70 million anytime a medical professional migrates to a developed country, adding that his administration is open to practical suggestions that would help in finding a lasting solution to the problem.
He said, “We have a situation where human resource experts, trained and skilled at great cost to the nation (roughly estimated by the Nigeria Postgraduate Medical College at N70 million per fellow) are lost to our health system by migration to already developed countries. This is worrisome to stakeholders in the health sector, and we welcome practical suggestions for finding solutions to this problem.”
Buhari said the country still needed to strengthen its highly specialized Human Resource for Health to expand healthcare delivery. His administration was piloting a Diaspora Healthcare Initiative to help scale up the workforce’s capacity by transferring and exchanging cutting-edge knowledge and skills.
Mrs. Stella Ekpendu, the principal of the School of Nursing of the University College Hospital, Ibadan, said, however, that there was nothing that the government could do to stem the flight to developed countries unless it was prepared to invest massively in the health sector. “The exodus of nurses, for example, from Nigeria to abroad, will not stop until the government addresses the issue of poor salary and the decay in the Nigerian health sector,” she said.
The favorite destinations of migrating Nigerian medical staff are Europe, North America, and the Middle East.
It has been observed that foreign embassies in Nigeria, particularly those of Britain, the United
States, and Saudi Arabia, receive on a weekly basis 20 to 25 verification requests from Nigerian nurses wishing to migrate abroad. This translates into about 1196 applications a year.