Nigeria’s current Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige has opined that medical practitioners who are interested in migrating from Nigeria in search for better opportunities can do so because there are more than enough doctors already in the country.
The minister made the comment while responding to the possibility of a brain drain in the health sector, during a Channels TV program.
The Minister, who is equally a medical doctor, stated that he did not see anything wrong in deciding to travel out of the country because most doctors who have traveled out in the past, have returned to establish standard hospitals here in Nigeria. Hence, it was more of a win-win situation that can help in growing the economy.
Ngige said, “I am not worried. We have surplus. If you have surplus, you export. It happened some years ago here. I was taught chemistry and biology by Indian teachers in my secondary school days.
“There are surplus in their country and we also have surplus in the medical profession in our country. I can tell you this. In my area, we have excess.
“Who said we don’t have enough doctors? We have more than enough. You can quote me. There is nothing wrong in them travelling out. When they go abroad, they earn money and send them back home here. Yes, we have foreign exchange earnings from them and not just oil.”
Still emphasizing on the advantages of traveling out as a health worker, the Minister said, “I know a couple of them who practise abroad but set up medical centres back home. They have CAT scan, MRI scan which even the government cannot maintain. So, I don’t see any loss.
“Brain drain will only be inimical when for instance neurosurgeons travel and we don’t have neurosurgeons here.”
Meanwhile, Nigeria’s minister of health has complained that Nigeria has far below the number of doctors recommended by the World Health Organization. He explained that currently, there is just one doctor to 5,000 residents, whereas, the recommended ratio is 1 to 600 people.
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