Home News Brain drain overstretching health workers – NMA

Brain drain overstretching health workers – NMA

by Haruna Gimba

By Asmau Ahmad

As Nigeria continues to experience the exodus of its health workers to other countries, the Nigerian Medical Association has said the development is overstretching the few medical personnel left behind in government hospitals.

This situation was brought to the fore by Dr Ime Okon, Lagos Zone Secretary of the NMA.

He lamented that due to brain drain in the health sector aggrieved patients and their relatives vent their anger on the few overworked hands left to man the sector.

Okon, therefore, urged family members of patients to always lodge their complaints through appropriate channels, rather than transferring their anger or inflicting injuries on the few medical practitioners still in the country.

“We don’t want to use the brain drain and other reasons as excuses not to give excellent services. That is why we have complaint channels to keep health workers in check.

“We want to improve ourselves and be of the best standards for everybody because the system is there for everyone.

“Doctors too fall ill, nurses fall ill, and you don’t want to be a victim of a failed system. So, we are trying to make it work for everybody.

“It could be my relative that’s sick and I am not on duty, but if we have a system that works, it would work well for that person. It doesn’t have to be a ‘man-know-man’ thing; once it’s systemic, it will work for everybody,” he said.

She further noted that the use of appropriate channels to register misgivings about the discharge of duty by medical practitioners would contribute a lot to improve healthcare delivery.

Dr Okon stressed that complaint boxes and phone numbers of Medical Directors and Heads of Nursing are placed at strategic locations within all public hospitals.

She said using the complaint channels would yield quick response from hospitals’ management rather than resorting to attack of health workers or to use the social media to lay complaints.

““Complaints sent there are promptly addressed. Complaints are signals that are treated with confidentiality. If you call and they don’t pick, it means they are busy; you can send a text message and they will call you back.

“NMA is following these complaints and we discover that most of them are frivolous.

“There’s a recent issue at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital where somebody assaulted health workers and the management of the hospital decided to take up the case legally.

“The family is begging for an out-of-court settlement now and the healthcare workers are angry with the decision because people are trying and sweating to ensure the health system works,’’ Dr. Okon said.

The zone secretary stressed that the cooperation of family members of patients was needed during treatment, noting that health workers understand their concerns and would try to reduce the psychological pressure they face.

Okon also said concerted efforts were being made to ensure that public health facilities improved and functioned optimally for the benefit of citizens.

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