The Vice Chancellor of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, UNN, Prof. Charles Igwe, on Thursday, raised concern over the level of brain drain among medical practitioners in Nigeria.
Saga Gist reports that over 500 medical consultants are said to have left Nigeria within the last two years.
Igwe spoke at the National Executive Council Meeting of the Medical and Dental Consultants of Nigeria, MDCAN, in Enugu.
He chaired the opening ceremony of the two-day event taking place at the Federal Neuropsychiatric Hospital, Enugu.
The Vice Chancellor, represented by the Deputy Vice Chancellor, University of Nigeria, Enugu Campus, Prof. Mrs. Edith Nwosu blamed the situation on bad leadership in the country.
While challenging the consultants and other professionals to rise to the challenge, Igwe said the forthcoming general election offers an opportunity to right the wrongs in the country.
“Our nation at this time is faced with the greatest challenge of brain drain and your profession is the worst hit.
“What does your association need to do in order to check brain drain? Bad leadership in the country is the problem.
“Now that the Nigeria election will come up next month, time has come when professionals should get involved, when we should participate. This is the time to change the narrative as professionals,” Igwe said.
In his speech at the meeting, the MDCAN National President, Dr. Victor Makanjuola said the theme and the sub-theme “have been carefully chosen to address contemporary issues affecting the health sector in Nigeria.
“The theme: ‘Medical Practice in a contemporary environment and sub-themes- brain drain and insecurity- implication for healthcare delivery, as well as understanding and navigating Nigerian tax laws are apt.”
He confirmed that over 500 medical consultants have left the country within the last two years.
“This figure is as of March last year; so it is far more than that,” Makanjuola said.
He added that, “we are not where we are supposed to be; we are faced with poor budgetary allocation, poor infrastructure, lack of incentives leading to brain-drain, challenge of power generation and distribution in most of our facilities.
“It has become difficult for administrators to run the facilities smoothly and provide efficient medical care for the citizens.”
The President expressed the hope that policy makers and administrators would apply recommendations from the meeting in addressing the challenges facing medical education and the health sector in Nigeria.
Similarly, the Medical Director of the Federal Neuropsychiatric Hospital, Enugu also rued the level of brain-drain in the country, noting that within the last one year, six members of his staff had also left for greener pastures.
While hailing the Federal Government for increasing the welfare package for medical workers, he called for more incentives in order to discourage medical workers from leaving the country.
Earlier in his remarks, the Chairman of the Local Organizing Committee, Dr. Appolos Ndukuba described the hosting of the meeting in Enugu State as historical.