By Asma’u Ahmad
The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) has called on the Federal Government to take urgent steps to reverse the increasing level of brain drain affecting the medical profession.
NMA President, Prof. Mike Ogirima, who made the call at a news conference in Lagos. He said there should be more vacancies in health institutions for doctors to fill, while their welfare should also be improved upon.
“Over the last 10 years, there have been isolated cases of migration, but it has become pronounced in the last five years that doctors cannot be absorbed into the system.
“This is a country where our health indices are very poor, yet we do not have vacancies for our specialists, doctors and other health professionals. Government must improve the capacities to absorb these hands,” he said.
The NMA president also expressed concern over the challenges facing residency training programmes in the country, saying they were enormous.
According to him, there are no clear-cut standards on what the country has for the training programme. “We need to plan and strategise, at least a five-year plan, and let us see how many specialists we need and where they are going to practise.
“Also, funds are not made available; our resident doctors are using their personal money to go for courses and workshops and there is no reimbursement for them. There are no allowances for textbooks and even their salaries are not paid,” Ogirima said.