15% budgetary allocation to health sector will curb brain drain- NIPSS boss
Currently, Nigeria has the third highest number of foreign medical doctors working in the United Kingdom after India and Pakistan
The Nigerian Government has been urged to fulfill it's promise of implementing the 15% allocation of the total domestic budget to the health sector .
Stakeholders say doing so will mitigate the migration of health workers beyond the shores of the Country.
The Director-General, National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPPS) Professor Ayo Omotayo made the call in Abuja, at a symposium on Nigeria's recent health sector Brain Drain and it's implications for sustainable health services delivery and financing in the context of new National Health Priorities.
He noted that the health sector in Nigeria, in the recent time is facing a financing and human resource gap a situation that partly ignited continuous migration of Nigerian health workers abroad in search of greener pastures.
Professor Omotayo explained that it is a source of concern as it is leading to a reduction in the number of health workers in the country.
He said, currently Nigeria has the third highest number of foreign medical doctors working in the United Kingdom after India and Pakistan.
Professor Omotayo said the situation has made the Doctors to patient ratio in Nigeria to be one Doctor per ten thousand patients (1:10,000) as against the WHO recommendation of one Doctor per one thousand patients (1:1,000.)
According to him, "Nigeria lost over 9,000 medical doctors to the United Kingdom, Canada, and the United States of America between 2016 and 2018.
A total of 727 medical doctors trained in Nigeria relocated to the United Kingdom alone in 6 months, between December 2021 and May 2022."
Professor Omotayo called for provisions of facilities and increase in renumeration to address brain drain in Nigeria's health sector.
Also, the Minister of Health Dr Osagie Ehanire, represented by Director Trauma, Emmergencies and Disaster response, Professor Sydney Ibeanusi said, Nigerians have a responsibility to address issues affecting the country and urged Nigerians to be more patriotic in their areas of endeavor.
He said the government was making efforts to improve conditions of service of health workers.
While trying to address brain drain, the Minister stressed the need to look into how to repatriate the knowledge of the migrated health workers and provide the enabling environment for them to practice in the country.
He called for the private sector engagement in the health sector.
Also speaking, Representative of the Presidential Health reform committee, Dr Nicolas Audifferen said the committee recognized stakeholders engagement as critical in addressing brain drain.
The Chairman Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), Dr. Uche Rowland, suggested the creation of Health Development Bank to facilitate development of health care sector.
"This bank will provide single digit interest loans with 5 years moratorium on repayment.