Prof. Akin Osibogun, a former Chief Medical Director, Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Idi-Araba, Lagos, has decried the shortage of manpower in the health sector.
Osibogun described it as worst in Nigeria compared to other countries globally.
He made the assertion at the 2019 Ordinary General Meeting and Scientific Conference of the Association of Resident Doctors, National Orthopaedic Hospital (NOHI), Igbobi Chapter, Lagos.
According to him, amidst the shortage, we have skilled manpower living the country, because they are not satisfied with the working conditions.
Newsmen reports that theme of the conference was: “Brain Drain: Effects On The Patients, Doctors and the Nation’’.
Osibogun said: “There is shortage of health workforce all over the world, but the Nigeria situation is worst.
“In the United States, they have one physician to 300 people, but in Nigeria, we have on the average one physician to 4, 000 Nigerians.
“We are not producing enough doctors, and we don’t have enough nurses with our population of 200 million people.
“We produce from our medical schools roughly about 3,000 doctors annually for a population of 200 million people; United Kingdom with 60 million population is producing 4,000 doctors annually.
“So, there is a general shortage and amidst this, the remuneration is poor, no incentives, no good facilities and tools for them to work with,’’ he said.
Osibogun said that to address the situation, more skilled manpower needed to be produced and encouraged to stay.
He also suggested that financial and non-financial incentives should be given to the health workers.
The former chief medical director said that brain drain have significant effect on the patients.
“If you have your skilled manpower living your country, it will mean that patients require and skill manpower wouldn’t have access to skilled manpower.
“This is why there is a lot of medical tourism out of Nigeria for treatment.
“If you are able to retain skilled manpower in Nigeria, at least, you will also retain and conserve our foreign exchange,’’ he said.
Osibogun said it was better for patients to be treated within their own socio-cultural environment than going abroad.
Also, Dr Mustapha Alimi, the Medical Director of NOHI, wondered what would become of the health sector when the older ones retired.
“Foreign countries are making Nigerian doctors very attractive offer outside; the irony is that it is the young ones that are going.
“We, the older ones are going to retire, if the young ones don’t stay, who would take over from us?
“The truth is that brain drain is not just affecting doctors, the one that is affecting the doctors is a tip of the iceberg, the nurses is worst hit.
“If we don’t curb it now, in the next six years, it will be difficult to get people to work in the hospital,’’ Alimi said.
Earlier, Dr Ndukwe Ifeanyi, the President of ARD, NOHI Chapter, said that poor remunerations and brain drain were big challenges to the nation’s health sector.
“So, we decided to choose this topic so that our elders in the profession, those that have been on ground before us, can tell us how better the country can curb this menace.
“We feel that if it is allowed to linger, already there is a crack on the wall, the crack may lead to collapse of the health system,’’ Ifeanyi said.