The Nigerian Medical Association has called on the Federal Government to take urgent steps to reverse the increasing level of brain drain affecting the medical profession.
Prof. Mike Ogirima, the President of NMA, made the call at a news conference on Sunday in Lagos.
Ogirima said there should be more vacancies in health institutions for doctors to fill, while their welfare should also be improved upon.
He said: “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.”
The NMA president also expressed concern over the challenges facing residency training programmes in the country, saying they were enormous.
According to Ogirima, there are no clear-cut standards on what the country has for the training programme.
He said: “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 practice.
“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.”
Meanwhile, in a communiqué issued at the end of the National Executive Council meeting of the association held from December 10 to 17, it called on the government to urgently reconstitute the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria.
The communiqué signed by Ogirima and the Secretary General, NMA, Dr. Yusuf Sununu, stated that the reconstitution of the council was necessary to checkmate the current challenges facing the profession.
It stated that the NEC rejects all efforts at politicising the conduct of pre-registration examination for foreign-trained medical doctors by the MDCN.
It said: “Everywhere in the world, there is a global standard; as a professor, I cannot go to other countries to start practicing.
“There is a licensing exam that I must take to practice in a foreign land; that is what MDCN is doing; and twice in a year, foreign-trained doctors make themselves available for this exam.”
Some of the activities during the NEC meeting included free medical mission to Jakande Estate in Lagos, where about 1,000 patients received free treatment.
It also included a condolence visit to the family of former Vice-President, Dr. Alex Ekwueme.