African countries now offer Nigerian doctors $4000, CMD tell Reps

African Nations Attracting Nigerian Health Professionals, Says Committee Chairman
Prof. Emem Bassey, Chairman of the Committee of Chief Medical Directors of Federal Tertiary Hospitals,
Prof. Emem Bassey, Chairman of the Committee of Chief Medical Directors of Federal Tertiary Hospitals,google photo

Prof. Emem Bassey, Chairman of the Committee of Chief Medical Directors of Federal Tertiary Hospitals, disclosed on Wednesday that Nigerian medical doctors and health professionals are increasingly being lured away by other African countries, including Sierra Leone and Gambia, offering wages three to four times higher than those in Nigeria.

Speaking before the House of Representatives Ad hoc Committee investigating employment racketeering in Federal Government agencies, Prof. Bassey, who also serves as CMD of the University of Uyo Teaching Hospital, highlighted the health sector's current challenge of a significant shortage of manpower as medical specialists, nurses, laboratory scientists, physiotherapists, radiographers, and other healthcare professionals are departing the country en masse.

The Chairman emphasized that Nigeria's health sector is grappling with the departure of these skilled professionals, leading to an urgent need for replacements. He noted that recruitment efforts often face bureaucratic hurdles, making compliance with federal character policies challenging.

Regarding the persistent issue of strikes, Prof. Bassey suggested that past governments have entered impractical agreements to appease striking health professionals, agreements they eventually could not fulfill, leading to a cycle of strikes. He called for more genuine negotiations between the government and healthcare workers.

Hon. Yusuf Gagdi, Chairman of the Ad hoc Committee, expressed concern over the lack of advanced medical facilities in Nigeria's health sector and called on medical professionals to stay and contribute to the nation's development. While acknowledging the allure of opportunities abroad, Gagdi urged doctors to consider patriotism and give back to the country that nurtured their skills. The committee plans to find a balance between federal character compliance and the urgent need to fill healthcare vacancies.

Gagdi emphasized that Nigeria, as the birthplace of these professionals, relies on their expertise to enhance the nation's healthcare system. He urged them to remain committed to serving their homeland despite challenges.

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