Nigige Not Worried About Doctors Leaving Nigeria
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, says medical doctors travelling out of the country are not contributing to brain drain in Nigeria.
The minister added that the country has a surplus of medical personnel and therefore, those who feel they want to relocate to other countries in search of greener pastures are free to do so.
Naija News understands Ngige made the submission on Wednesday during a Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily programme while responding to a question on brain drain and the deliberate recruitment of Nigerian doctors by foreign embassies in Nigeria to the detriment of the nation’s health sector.
Ngige, who is also a medical doctor, rather stated that such doctors leaving the country were even growing the economy as they send foreign exchange home.
He said, “No, I am not worried (about doctors leaving the country). We have surplus. If you have surplus, you export. It happened some years ago here. I was taught chemistry and biology by Indian teachers in my secondary school days.
“There are surplus in their country and we also have surplus in the medical profession in our country. I can tell you this. In my area, we have excess.
“Who said we don’t have enough doctors? We have more than enough. You can quote me. There is nothing wrong in them travelling out. When they go abroad, they earn money and send them back home here. Yes, we have foreign exchange earnings from them and not just oil.”
When pressed further on the authenticity of what he was saying, the minister replied: “Will you call that brain drain? I know a couple of them who practise abroad but set up medical centres back home. They have CAT scan, MRI scan which even the government cannot maintain. So, I don’t see any loss,” he said.
“Brain drain will only be inimical when for instance neurosurgeons travel and we don’t have neurosurgeons here.”
Punch reports that with an estimated population of over 180 million, there is one doctor per 5,000 people in Nigeria, according to the Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole, compared with the World Health Organization recommendation of one per 600 people.
There are 72,000 doctors registered with the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria; over half practise outside the country.
Nine in every 10 doctors are considering work opportunities outside Nigeria. And it is projected to keep rising as doctors continue to face systemic challenges, according to NOI polls.