Former Ekiti State governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, has expressed worries about the manpower crisis that might befall Nigeria soon with the spate of exodus of medical doctors and other health care professionals for foreign practice, thus challenging the government to take urgent measures to forestall the imminent crisis.
He, however, suggested that a new national scheme that should, perhaps, be called National Health Service Scheme, be established for newly licenced health care professionals that would mandate them to serve within the country’s health care system for, at least, five years before leaving for foreign practice if they wish, reports Daily Sun.
Dr. Fayemi who once served as the Chairman of Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) gave the suggestion in Abuja, today, while delivering a speech at the induction ceremony of the newly appointed state commissioners of health.
The induction ceremony was organized by the NGF, to usher onboard the newly appointed health commissioners, as well as provide an opportunity for them to share experiences towards strengthening health services delivery to the Nigerian people at the subnational level
Dr. Fayemi, in his remarks, suggested that, when operational, the licenses of the doctors involved should be withheld by the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN) until they serve the stipulated number of years before being granted permission to leave the country for foreign practice if they wish.
He added: “For countries that want to recruit Nigerian doctors or health workers, they should be made to pay for the training of the exiting doctors and the cost that will cover the training of two others. It is like tree planting. When you do deforestation, afforestation must be followed in double fold. In fact, for every tree caught, you are expected to replace it with two new trees. You must give enough funding for training two new doctors that might likely choose to practice abroad.
“I have friends, medical doctors, who did Residency training in countries like the US, UK earning good dollars, depending on the specialty, but they are not making any repayment except remittance to families and friends. This is unlike their American colleagues that used student loans to go to medical school, and are still paying back the loan 30 years after, while Nigerian trained virtually free by the Nigerian state had not been paying one Naira or one dollar out of what they are making.”
Chairman of the Nigeria Health Commissioners’ Forum, Dr. Oyebanji Filani, in his welcome remarks, appreciated the new commissioners, noting that the theme of the induction, “Navigating Health Leadership: From Promise to Impact” marks a significant milestone in their collective journey towards a healthier, more prosperous Nigeria.
He said the aim of the induction exercise was to equip them with the knowledge, skills, and ethical foundations necessary for good governance. “This is deeply rooted in our desire to bolster your capacity in the strategic, inter-sectoral, and socio-political management of health systems.
“Our focus is to equip the new cadre of health leaders with the tools and insights essential for effective governance.”
WHO Representative in Nigeria Dr. Walter Kazadi Mulombo, in his remarks, demanded of the commissioners to keep the Primary Health Care (PHC) system high on the agenda of their governments, and ensure priority investment in its development.
He was confident that with common vision, proactive collaboration, clear accountability mechanisms, collective dedication, and commitment, they would achieve better results in the health sector.
He said that WHO in line with its Country Coordination Strategy (CCS), is committed to working with all stakeholders at the federal and state levels through the field offices, to ensure the translation of health policies into actions.