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Why Nigeria’ll lack doctors, nurses soon –Consultants

Following the heightened threat of an increased brain drain in the medical field, medical doctors have warned that hospitals may be almost empty of health workers including nurses, by the turn of the year.

 

The doctors, who raised concerns over the failure of Nigeria’s health system, disclosed that doctors and other health workers would continue to leave the country in droves, for several reasons including government’s policies, poor welfare, heightening insecurity, incessant strikes, work overload, and nonpayment of salaries and allowances.

 

 

 

A medical practitioner, Dr. Michael Adeyanju, who noted that Nigerians leaving in droves for better opportunities outside the country was not a new development, said: “It will continue to happen.

 

It’s not only doctors leaving. Nurses are leaving in droves. By the turn of the year, some hospitals will have no nurses on ground.” Adeyanju, who decried that the National Universities Commission (NUC) has degraded the Fellowship undertaken by doctors, said many countries, including the United Kingdom, United States, Canada and Australia, would continue to witness an influx of health professionals from Nigeria.

 

He lamented that, “NUC have colluded with enemies within the medical profession to desecrate our degree and Fellowship. Condition of things in the country are nothing to write about. There’s insecurity everywhere, including even NDA! Nobody is safe!

 

“The Nigerian doctor is terribly overworked; outpatient clinics are jam-packed with patients with some seeing more than 100 in a day apart from other activities and duties in the hospital. Brain fatigue sets in, productivity declines.

 

“What is there in Nigeria to keep doctors and other Nigerians here for? Nothing! It’s a natural human tendency to move to a better place. No government in Nigeria, state or federal, can afford to pay doctors what they are being offered in other countries. None!

 

So, if you have the opportunity, you leave! It’s simple. It can’t stop.” A senior consultant and gynecologist at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, who said he sees Nigeria without doctors, warned that the few ones who decide to stay behind would be faced with government’s intimidation and oppression.

 

“The Nigeria government is yet to know what has befallen it. They have just started having brain drain. Medical practitioners are leaving in droves. Numbers of medical practitioners outside the country are more than those within the country.

 

What everybody is seeing is that medical doctors are leaving the country; nurses too are leaving en mass. “In fact, their movement is a whole lot easier and swifter than that of doctors. I don’t blame them for leaving; the Nigerian government is not appreciative of their services to the country.

“Can you imagine the content of a new circular from the Lagos State Government stating its intentions of removing NYSC doctors and those on Housemanship from its health service scheme?

 

What that means is that they are at the mercy of the state government because they have been reduced to locum.

 

“Meanwhile, salary in United Kingdom (UK) alone will pay for one and half years in Nigeria, while that of Canada will not only pay an attractive salary but will also cater for our children’s school fees among other goodies attached to our employment. If all these pecks are there, tell me please, why should I continue to suffer where I am least appreciated.” He added:

 

“We, doctors, are like any other normal human beings as well. We also find it difficult to pay house rent, school fees, feed and cater for generally for our children. All we crave for is relative decent system of existence.

 

We have dependents too. Will you believe that our children are not even encouraged to go  into our profession? What I can say is that, if Nigeria doesn’t take time, there will be no doctors again in Nigeria.”

 

“Majority of my mates whom we finished from school, about 70 per cent are in America and Canada while those of us in Nigeria are just about 20 per cent. A few of them have even become professors outside the country. Nigerians are well educated people.”

 

On his part, a Senior consultant surgeon at Igbobi, who disclosed that 5, 000 nurses have left the country in the last eight months, added that they leave en mass on a daily basis in search of greener pastures to countries in the west, where they were more appreciated and well remunerated.

 

While noting that in recent times, insecurity was a major reason behind the exodus, he raised concerns that the government was not investing in the health sector.

 

“The world has now become a global village, whereby if one country is not suitable for existence and working condition, we move to the next country where it is more suitable.

 

“A senior consultant surgeon outside the country earns $15,000 while junior medical officers earn between $7,000 and $8,000 a month, excluding other pecks like travelling allowance, health insurance, among others. When you compare all of those with what is obtainable here in Nigeria, you wouldn’t sacrifice, especially knowing that it is not appreciated.

 

“As at today, about 75 per cent of my course mates are not in Nigeria and those of us in Nigeria are already looking forward to retirement under unsatisfactory working condition.

 

“You can imagine a typical situation where there are only about two nurses available to 24 patients and a doctor sees about 90 patients in a day. It’s just not possible to have detailed consulting session with a patient and a patient may require up 30mins of consultation but it’s just not possible beyond five minutes.

 

“Doctors are also becoming target of kidnap, especially outside Lagos. Seriously, I regret not leaving the country when I was younger and more energetic.”

 

Another Senior consultant Cardiologist at LASUTH, who fingered government for having bad policies, criticised them for failing to take responsibility. He said:”As it is presently, we are in a critical situation in the medical field.

 

For instance, in my unit, three medical officers have gone out of the country and one is already asking for her annual leave, so as to go prepare for an international exam that will enable her get out of the country. “I am left with only two people in my unit. I had to borrow from other units to enable me function properly. On my clinic days, I attend to between 60 and 70 patients in a day, excluding emergency and some walkins.

 

The workload is just too much with less appreciation from our government. “On the long run, the country will be forced to recognise its medical system and restructure where necessary.”

 

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