Medical practitioners have identified migration as one of the key setbacks for the nation’s health sector.
According to them, the increased rate of migration of doctors from Nigeria to other countries and the dwindling intake into residency programmes are issues that need to be addressed in order to give the nation’s health system a boost.
This was one of the key issues raised at the 13th Annual Scientific Conference Of the National Postgraduate Medical College of Nigeria which held in Owerri, the Imo State capital.
The Minister of State for Health, Osagie Ehanire, also lamented that Nigeria is losing a huge amount of foreign exchange annually of about one billion dollars as a result of Nigerians seeking medical attention abroad.
This According to him was not as a result of lack of equipment or lack of medical experts rather, it was due to the lack of proper housekeeping and environmental care, the attitude of staff to patient rights, strike actions, absenteeism, distractions, among others.
He, however, said that the Federal Government will continue to offer support to enhance the quality of healthcare delivery.
The Imo state Governor Rochas Okorocha, the Obi of Onitsha Nnaemeka Achebe, as well as senior medical practitioners around the country were also present at the event.
The Nigerian Senate has appealed to Nigerian medical practitioners in the diaspora to return home.
The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Senator Lanre Tejuosho, made the call on Tuesday at a meeting with members of the Association of Nigerian Physicians in the Americas.
He said that Nigeria was in dire need of the wealth of experience by Nigerian medical practitioners in the diaspora.
Senator Tejuosho bemoaned the flight of experienced Nigerian medical practitioners to other countries and appealed to them to return home.
In his remark, the President of the Association of Nigerian Physicians in the Americas, Nkem Chukwumerije, said that they had come to meet with the Senate Committee on Health to discuss policies that would improve Nigeria’s health sector.
He added that they wanted the government to put in place, some incentives that would attract foreign based Nigerian doctors to return home.
The association also advocated for improved funding for the health sector and wanted the Senate Committee to be more proactive in its oversight activities in addition to other legislative responsibilities.
They offered to collaborate with the National Assembly and other agencies in Nigeria’s health sector in the areas of health education, advocacy, legislative support and bridging health care gaps in undeserved communities.
Marcus Eruaga, the past Secretary General of the Association of General Medical Practitioners of Nigeria was here to comment on proposal yet to be put in place to ban overseas treatment of public officers.
These trips are made with public funds which made the call mandatory as these funds are public funds that are not accounted for.
According to Dr. Marcus Eruaga, the medical sector of Nigeria is still very very deficient in some aspects and that for the ban to be in place and effective, some things must be put in place in terms of facilities.