About 500 medical and dental consultants have left public hospitals for better workplaces in foreign countries, says Medical and Dental Consultants’ Association of Nigeria (MDCAN).
The consultant doctor attributed the migration of healthcare workers and other problems confronting the nation’s health sector to unresolved issues by the government, particularly workers’ welfare and other sundry demands.
Speaking with journalists on Sunday after the association reached a resolution at the end of its annual general meeting in Benin City, Victor Makanjuola, the national president of MDCAN, said the government has refused to address their challenges despite repeated negotiations and pledges to resolve the issues.
“In the last two years, over 500 consultants in estimation have left the services of government hospitals for practice abroad. All our government hospitals are consultant-led practices which is the global standard. Now, we lost 500 in just two years and we have found out that those who are more likely to leave are younger ones,” Makanjuola said.
To halt further mass exodus of doctors from the system, he said the Nigerian government needs to retain the older consultants who are in their 50s and approaching retirement age so that they can stay back and train the next generation of doctors and medical students.
“Otherwise, the disaster for brain drain would be double because we would lose the younger ones, the older ones would retire about the same time, and you will find a system without consultants. This would affect the standard of care and the quality of care given by the hospital”, he added.
Makanjuola, while noting that consultants cannot guarantee industrial harmony in government hospitals if their demands are not met, called on well-meaning Nigerians to intervene in order to avert a looming crisis.
“Government should implement the payment of the approved hazard allowance, pay outstanding arrears occasioned by skipping, extend the retirement age of health workers to limit ongoing massive brain drain in the health sector as well as correct the shortfall in the salaries of honorary consultants who are clinical lecturers in the university,” he said.