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FG prohibits leave absence for health workers

by Haruna Gimba
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By Muhammad Amaan

The Federal Government of Nigeria has placed a ban on leave of absence for health professionals relocating abroad.

The Minister of State for Health, Dr Tunji Alausa, who disclosed this on Saturday in Abeokuta said that health workers going abroad to seek for greener pastures must “henceforth resign their appointment before embarking on such journeys.”

The Minister who spoke  during his visit to the Neuro Psychiatric Hospital, Aro, said the directive was contained in the Executive Order issued by President Bola Tinubu.

He said the decision was taken to combat the challenge of brain drain fondly called ‘Japa Syndrome’ confronting the health sector.

The minister also disclosed that the federal government had commenced aggressive recruitment of manpower in the health sector.

According to him,  the annual enrollment of Nurses which used to be about 28,000 had been increased to 68,000 adding that by the end of the year it would have gone up to 120,000.

He said President Tinubu acknowledged the people as the biggest asset of the country and had vowed to take proactive measures to improve the health sector for their benefit.

On shortage of manpower in the health sector, Alausa said the President had ordered massive  recruitment of personnel to bridge the gap.

“In addition to the massive engagement of Nurses, we have equally doubled our enrollment for Doctors, Dentistry and Pharmacists.

“However, the government has not prohibited anyone who wants to move to the UK or Australia to take up appointments not to do so.

“It is a free world. But, you cannot eat your cake and have it. If you are going, just resign your appointments with the federal government, rather than applying for leave of absence.

“That is the Presidential Executive Order which has been communicated to all the Chief Medical Directors of Federal Government owned health facilities to implement,” he said

The minister explained that, the challenge had been that many health professionals that applied for leave of absence would travel outside the country to practice and be making money, yet their name would still be in the payroll of government

“So, to resolve this problem, the President has directed that any health worker going abroad to work should just resign his or her appointment.

“This way, you won’t be blocking others who want to work,” he said

Responding to demands on increased funding, infrastructural development and welfare packages of health workers,  Alausa assured that his ministry would leave no stone unturned to improve the fortunes of the health sector in the country.

The minister commended the Provost and Chief Medical Director of the hospital, Dr Paul Agboola for his commitment towards providing qualitative healthcare for Nigerians.

Earlier, Agboola hailed the minister for his selflessness and passion to turn things around for good in the health sector.

He said that,  as a result of the approval given by the minister, the hospital had embarked on many new projects, including a 40-bed mother and child hospital

Agboola said that his administration remained committed to doing everything necessary and possible to continually make the hospital the centre of excellence in neuro psychiatric across the globe.

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