Nigerian doctors abroad should be encouraged to return – NPHCDA boss

The Executive Director, National Primary Health Care Development Agency, Dr. Faisal Shuaib, has said the next president will need to upgrade the health sector and introduce better pay that will appear irresistible to medical professionals who dumped the country for greener pastures.

Shuaib made the appeal on Saturday when he spoke at a medical town hall meeting on Bola Ahmed Tinubu Health Agenda in Abuja. Tinubu is the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress.

Shuaid said, “We need to stop the one-way traffic. There is nothing wrong with people seeking greener pastures abroad. What we need is to put in place measures that will make sure that they also give back to Nigeria where they are trained.

“In a lot of instances, you find in countries with similar situations as ours, their professionals abroad actually remit a fixed amount of money back to their home countries. This is something that is agreed upon with the host countries so that we always find people coming in bringing resources.

“It’s not about saying that people should not go. The focus should also be on how to encourage them to come back, even if it is during their annual leave. They can come back and also give back to our health sector some of the advanced technologies, advanced capabilities that they have learnt.”

Also speaking at the event, a former Senator, Dr. Lanre Tejuosho, urged the government to create means by which the country’s health professionals would be self-employed.

He added, “When I say self-employment, I am talking about taking advantage of the over 30,000 primary health centres in Nigeria today. I have been saying this for a long time. We will also make sure that there is enough money in the basket. It is now a matter of making it practical. We have the infrastructure; give it to the medical doctors. Our doctors abroad will come back because they won’t be making that kind of money in London or other parts of the world,” he said.

In a separate interview with one of our correspondents on Thursday, the President of the Nigerian Medical Association, Dr. Uche Ojinmah, lamented the rate at which Nigeria was losing its young health workers.

Ojinmah said, “It is obvious, what is happening is that we are losing the advanced skilled ones and the raw materials that will replace them when they go. Young doctors are still the raw materials for specialisation and further skill acquisition. If those that have not mentally developed a known special skill leave, it poses no danger because they may come back later but when those that are technocrats leave, it creates a vacuum that may be difficult to fill. When those special skills that we have in the health sector have all relocated, they will no longer be available to service the sector.”


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