Senate moves to check medical brain drain in Nigeria

The Senate on Tuesday moved to check the rising emigration of medical and health professionals from Nigeria to developed countries.

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This followed the consideration of a bill for second reading at plenary seeking to establish the Federal University of Medicine and Medical Sciences, Abeokuta.

Sponsor of the bill, Sen. Ibikunle Amosun (APC-Ogun), in his lead debate said establishment of specialised medical universities have become imperative, given the high demands for medical and health professionals in Nigeria.

He said “Many reports suggest that the number of Doctors, Dentists, Physiotherapists, Occupational Therapists, and Bachelor’s Degree-prepared Nurses are not adequate to handle increasing population and healthcare of Nigerians.
“The rising wave of external migration of medical and allied health professionals seeking greener pastures in more developed countries further compound the problem.”

The lawmaker lamented that the mass emigration of required professionals from the country had resulted in the near extinction of some disciplines offered by Nigerian universities.

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“Furthermore, some critically needed health professionals such as physical and occupational therapists, medical engineers, psychotherapists, and others are just not adequately produced in the country.

“Indeed, some of the disciplines are on the verge of extinction due to the mass migration of these professionals”, Amosun said.

He warned that unless measures were introduced to check the situation, health indicators may continue to decline in the absence of interventions to tackle the trend.

“More Doctors and health professionals leaving the country has led to a shortage of Nigerian Doctors and specialized health care practitioners.
“This has resulted in a heavy strain and disaffection among those remaining.

” It is equally creating a fast rising personnel deficit in the country’s health sector, as statistics show that there is a ratio of one doctor to one hundred patients especially in our public hospitals”, he said.

The lawmaker, however, expressed optimism that Universities of Medicine and Medical Sciences would provide the chance to train health professionals as they would have flexibility especially for creative program expansion.

Similarly, the Senate also considered a bill seeking to give legal backing to the University of Health Sciences, Otukpo.

The bill was sponsored by Sen. Abba Moro (PDP – Benue ).

Moro said the bill if eventually passed into law by the 9th Assembly, would address the dearth in admission of students aspiring to study Medicine and Allied Sciences in Nigeria and supply of the needed manpower in the country’s health sector.

“It is pertinent to mention here that the teeming Nigerian population puts enormous strain and stress on the national infrastructure and available Health Personnel.
“The Federal University of Health Sciences, Otukpo, when established, would bridge the gap of the challenges of inadequate health professionals in Nigeria”, the lawmaker said.

The President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, referred the bills considered during plenary on Tuesday to the Committee on Tertiary Institutions and TETFUND for further legislative work, with a directive for it to report back in four weeks.

The Committee is Chaired by Sen. Ahmed Baba Kaita (APC-Katsina ).


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