Japa: Doctors, Nurses Abroad Ready to Return to Nigeria – Minister

Says work is ongoing with the National Salaries, Incomes And Wages Commission to increase the pay of health workers in the country.
Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Muhammad Ali Pate
Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Muhammad Ali PateX ( Formally Twitter)

Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Muhammad Ali Pate, in an interview with Journalists on Sunday, affirmed that Nigerian doctors, nurses, and medical personnel working in the diaspora are ready to return to Nigeria provided the enabling amenities are made available.

The minister said, numerous medical practitioners wished to remain in Nigeria to serve the country despite the opportunity to move abroad where there are guaranteed better pay and welfare packages, adding that some who have been outstanding are equally beginning to think of how to come back if the authorized amenities are provided.

Additionally, Pate noted that some Nigerian medical practitioners go to get training overseas with the hope that they will return better skilled and contribute at home. He affirmed that the government is doing all it can to make the medical sector conducive for health professionals to stay at home and practice.

He said the migration occurrences popularly known as ‘Japa’ which has seen the mass departure of thousands of young health practitioners in the last few years — is not limited to Nigeria, noting that the trend is a global phenomenon.

“Human resources is the bedrock of the health sector. That is the main essential ingredient, not the hospitals, though they are very essential complements,” he uttered.

There are over 300,000 medical professionals working in Nigeria today, of all cadres; nurses, doctors, midwives, laboratory scientists, pharmacists. Pate noted that though there are about 55,000 licensed medical doctors in Nigeria, they are not enough and not well-distributed all over the country. He stressed that most of the doctors and high professionals are in Lagos, Abuja and a few other urban centers. So, there is a huge distribution problem.

According to him, about 15,000 doctors have passed on in the last five years, but the government is dedicated to expanding its training programme to fill the vacuum.

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