A former President of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) Dr. Osahon Enabulele, on Friday said that due to the country’s dwindling number of healthcare personnel, one doctor is presently attending to 4, 000 Nigerians, as opposed to the WHO’s recommendation of one doctor for every 600 people, Njenje Media News reports.
Enabulele, a member of the World Medical Association’s Executive Committee, revealed while to journalists in Lagos on Wednesday that President Muhammadu Buhari’s penchant for international medical travels is not driving Nigerian doctors to stay at home and practice..
Lamenting the high number of cases of brain waves in the country, Enabulele stated that due to the country’s dwindling number of healthcare personnel, one doctor is presently attending to 4, 000 Nigerians, as opposed to the WHO’s recommendation of one doctor for every 600 people.
He added that given President Buhari’s preference for international medical treatment, he believes many Nigerians at home will feel undervalued and will be desperate to travel abroad in order to treat their President.
“It is not enough to state that you are investing in training to address the issue of brain drain, How are you investing in the retention strategy, aside from training? Because the health workforce issue is one of productivity, retention, and, of course, incentive. So there is a production problem; we are not producing enough” he said.
Today, Nigeria revolves around one doctor for every 4,000 people. That cannot have an effect on relevant health outcomes. This cannot result in beneficial health results. So, how are we doing in terms of output? Even those that are produced, how are they being trained and retrained?
Take a look at what’s going on right now to see what’s causing this strike. People want to work in the health care system, but the recruitment process is so flawed. People are unable to work since exemptions must be obtained. Such bureaucratic red tape and administrative shenanigans are not supporting our country’s medical manpower growth.
“So, what motivational mechanism do we have on the ground? As I speak to you now, the environment is so defective largely. The working conditions are very pitiable and of course, buoyed by the issue of insecurity which affects all Nigerians.
Nobody needs to spend time going through a very rigorous profession like medicine only to come tomorrow and you are kidnapped and all your little savings are released to kidnappers.
Once you are free from the stranglehold of the kidnappers, the next thing you think of is how to survive. And there are people who have alluring mechanisms coming into Nigeria to attract those healthcare workers. So, the push and pull factors need to be engaged by the government. There are factors that are pushing our doctors, including the working conditions, the poor uncompetitive wages, the insecurity issues and of course, the attractive pull factors from other places.
“Even in the midst of COVID, you saw the UK government emplacing very attractive programmes for healthcare workers all over the world in the phase of Brexit. Who will not get attracted to that?
“For those of us who are even straining ourselves to remain in our country, I think we should be appreciated. But that is not even being done because rather than patronizing Nigerian health professionals, our government is patronizing those abroad”.
“It further tells me that I am not even valued in my own country. So perhaps the best place to be valued is to go abroad where I will have the opportunity to treat my President because that also gives you some level of professional esteem,” he said.