Brain drain: Nigeria may need to import doctors in future, says NMA

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The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) says with the trend of medical doctors leaving the country, there may be a need to hire doctors from foreign countries in the future.

The association said this on Tuesday at the official opening of the 2022 scientific conference, titled: ‘National Health Authority Act – The Sound Bites’, held in Ibadan, the Oyo capital.

According to the NMA, a total collapse of the health system is imminent if urgent steps are not taken to address the situation.

Ayotunde Fasunla, the Oyo NMA chairman, called for a state of emergency on the health sector, adding that the poor state of government-owned medical facilities is something to be concerned about.


“The infrastructure deficit is such that some of our hospitals spend a significant amount of their internally-generated revenue on diesel to ensure power supply,” he said.

“There is scarcity of funds to apply for equipment upgrade, manpower development or even recruitment of new staff. Many of our hospitals are grossly under-staffed. Even the process of replacing migrating staff is bogged down by a rigid and insensitive government bureaucracy.

“It is our plea to the government to commit more funds to the health sector so that the system does not collapse.


“Only healthy people can have the will and strength to contribute to the growth and development of a nation’s economy.

“Therefore, I call on well-meaning Nigerians, philanthropists, and non-governmental organisations to join hands with the government to improve the conditions of the health system in the nation, especially Oyo state. It is obvious that the government cannot handle it alone.”

Representing the Oyo governor at the event, Taiwo Ladipo, the state commissioner for health, said 20 medical personnel — including 12 consultants out of the 530 health professionals recruited within the last year — had left the services of the state government.

According to him, reflections have to be made to “ensure that the health system does not collapse”.


Also speaking, Oluwole Akande, a former chief medical director, University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan, and chairman of the occasion, identified the factors responsible for the brain drain in the country as “push and pull.”

According to him, the pull factor encompasses the incentives used by other countries to attract medical and health workers, while the push factor “refers to conditions of service, unfriendly environment, and inadequate funding that have been forcing the experts to migrate to other countries in search of greener pastures”.

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