The federal government has made public its plan to engage Nigerian doctors and nurses in the diaspora and link them up with universities and hospitals in the country.
Mr Osagie Ehanire, Minister of Health, made this disclosure on Tuesday, January 10, while delivering a speech at the 17th edition of the President Muhammadu Buhari (PMB) Administration” Scorecard Series (2015-2023).
Ehanire, while speaking at the event, admitted that experienced doctors and nurses are departing the country because they feel they are not properly rewarded for the work they are doing.
The Minister added that the federal government is trying to address the issue by improving the conditions of service for medical personnel. Ehanire added that Nigeria is not the only country affected by high mobility of health workers.
“I was at a meeting where the minister of health of Gambia was complaining too that the doctors they have, some of them have left. I also spoke with authoritative in the UK who also complained that their doctors are going to Canada and New Zealand where their pay is better.
“So they require lots of people because there is a high need in those countries. So mobility is global and not that we are doing something wrong but market forces working globally. The situation is the same in Turkey and Egypt.
“So, we are trying to measure performance and let people be happy they are properly rewarded for what they have done.
“What we are also doing is to do what they call the conversion of brain drain to brain gain. We are doing that with a new mechanism that is being set up now to engage Nigerian doctors and nurses in the diaspora and connect them with universities and hospitals because modern technology makes it possible for somebody to be delivering lectures in New York and we have people here listening to it. So we can have those who are ready to transfer knowledge to do so.
“Also, those who have to do surgery or see a patient can book periods during which they will come. So, they can be affiliated with a particular teaching hospital and come in with cutting-edge knowledge and skills to come here and pass this knowledge on.”
Commenting on the federal government’s plan to tackle the fresh outbreak of COVID-19, Ehanire said;
“The observed increase in the number of cases in China, USA and Europe is seasonal and it is not unexpected during the winter.
“So, the recent relaxation also affects the rising in cases with the removal of travel restrictions.”