The Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) has called on the Federal Government to urgently address the brain drain challenge being currently witnessed in the health sector.
Prof. Innocent Ujah, the NMA President made the call on Tuesday, October 12, in Abuja at a news conference to begin the 2021 Annual Physician Week of the NMA.
The theme of the week is “Nigeria in the COVID-19 era: Health systems strengthening for national security and prosperity”.
Ujah said that the issue of brain drain among medical doctors needed the government’s urgent intervention to put a stop to it.
He said that the consequences of turning blind eye to this challenge would be ominous earlier than expected if the government did not do something about it.
The NMA President said that incentivisation of healthcare workers would motivate them to work harder; and give their best as health “is a wealth and is better than wealth”.
He also called on the government to invest more and finance the health sector; adding that the COVID-19 pandemic had exposed the poor management of the sector with dilapidating health facilities.
Ujah said that the rot in the health sector had necessitated the call for a total overhaul with the need to improve on budget allocation and effective implementation of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).
He also urged the government to enact a law that would make NHIS compulsory for all adults in the country; as well as exploring alternative healthcare financing initiatives like the proposed health infrastructural bank by the NMA.
“It is also pertinent to track the release and use of funds for healthcare services at the federal, state and local government levels.
“Government should intensify its efforts in the Public-Private Policy (PPP) initiative.
“The health workers welfare including the commensurate payment of hazard allowance be implemented without further delay.
“Doing all these will definitely renew confidence; commitment; and dedication to the delivery of quality healthcare to Nigerian people,’’ he said.
The NMA President also condemned in strong terms; the kidnapping and killing of doctors and other health workers by insurgents in Anambra; adding that government must do all it could to rescue the kidnapped victims.
He also called on state governments owing doctors their salaries and allowances to pay; to prevent further frustration among the workforce.