Dr Jide Idris, the Convener, Healthcare Transformation Coalition (HTC), says medical professionals need to be included in policy making that will address the nagging challenge of the massive exit of skilled professionals from the country.
This phenomenon is otherwise known as the brain drain.
Idris, a former Commissioner for Health in Lagos State, made the call at the weekend, at a programme organised by HTC, under the auspices of the Lagos State Health Service Commission, to address the brain drain in Nigeria.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the theme of the programme was ”Imperatives of Brain Drain in the Health Sector”.
“We initiated this event to listen to our young professionals in the medical line why they are not happy and also want to leave the country and practice elsewhere.
“There are many causes to the challenge and a major part of it revolves around the management of human capacity.
“This is an election period and a good opportunity for us to contribute to policy making by ensuring that we put the right leader in place to formulate good policies that will move the sector forward.
“Health is everybody’s business and not just for the government alone,” he said.
He added that there was a need to train more healthcare personnel and have health financing grants to fill the gap created by those who have left and also improve their welfare.
Also, Prof. Akin Abayomi, the Lagos State Commissioner for Health, said a rapid exit replacement strategy should be in place to address brain drain.
”Brain drain is not something that is new, it has existed for many decades and it has affected all professional cadre of the country.
”Nigeria is a natural exporter of human capital and this is because we don’t produce planes, equipment and the likes.
”We must produce more healthcare professionals to address this issue and our institutions must pay attention to the selection process of medical students,” he said.
Similarly, Dr Muyiwa Eniayewun, the Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Health Service Commission, said the number of medical practitioners produced should be increased to mitigate brain drain effects.
Eniayewun said: ”For instance, we produce 3,000 doctors in the country annually; but I believe with this present challenge we should be able to do 10,000 to maintain a balance and sustain the system,” he said.
NAN reports that a panelist session was also held for young medical practitioners to discuss and proffer solutions to the current trend of “Japa” (human capital flight) in various medical fields.