The Nigeria Medical Association(NMA) and National Association of Resident Doctors(NARD), on Wednesday described as “unfortunate” the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige’s comment on brain drain in the medical profession.
Ngige, who spoke on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily on Wednesday, said he was not bothered that medical doctors were leaving Nigeria in their numbers, saying that the nation has a surplus of them and must therefore “export” to other countries.
Asked if he was concerned that the nation could be facing medical crisis with the number of doctors leaving Nigeria, the minister had said, “We have more than enough, quote me.
“They (doctors) go out, sharpen their skills, earn money and send them back home here.
“We have foreign exchange earnings from them. Indians are doing it,” he said.
Reacting to Ngige’s comment, NMA president, Dr. Adedayo Faduyile, said Nigeria does not have enough doctors, emphasising the need to ensure the country retains its medical personnel.
“That is an unfortunate statement which shows that he has done nothing in medical practice.
“The World Health Organisation stated that, for optimal healthcare to be achieved, we need doctor/patient ratio of one to 600.
“In Nigeria, we have 40,000 doctors taking care of 200 million people.
“It’s unfortunate, we do not have enough doctors. Maybe he is looking at the monetary part, but there is opportunity cost.
“We have the maternal mortality that is about the highest in the world. To correct it, we need health professionals around,” Faduyile said.
Also, NARD president, Dr. Olusegun Olaopa, said Ngige spoke as a politician.
“He spoke as a politician who does not know what is happening in the country.
“The doctors we are losing are not fresh doctors but specialists. That means that Nigeria will continue to battle with shortage of specialist doctors,” he said.