The Senate on Tuesday passed two bills for second reading seeking to mitigate the rising emigration of medical and health professionals from Nigeria to developed countries.
The bills are for the establishment of the Federal University of Medicine and Medical Sciences, Abeokuta, Ogun State and University of Health Sciences, Otukpo, Benue state respectively.
While the former is sponsored by Senator Ibikunle Amosun (APC – Ogun Central), the latter is being sponsored by Senator Abba Moro (PDP – Benue South).
The Senate is concerned that there is the inadequacy of health personnel in the country and that many medical doctors are seeking greener pastures abroad.
Also, it is worried that the mass emigration of needed professionals from the country has resulted in the near-extinction of some disciplines offered by Nigerian universities.
Leading the debate on the establishment Federal University of medicine Abeokuta, Senator Amosun said that the establishment of specialized medical universities had become very important in the country as there are high demands for medical and health professionals in Nigeria.
“Many reports suggest that the number of Doctors, Dentists, Physiotherapists, Occupational Therapists, and Bachelor’s Degree-prepared Nurses in the country are just not adequate to deal with the increasing population growth and the healthcare needs of Nigerians.”
“The rising wave of external migration of medical and allied health professionals seeking greener pastures in more developed countries further compounds the problem.
“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.
Similarly, Senator Abba Moro while leading debate on the bill to establish the University of Health Sciences, Otukpo, insisted that if passed, it will address the decline in the admission of students aspiring to study Medicine and Allied Sciences in Nigeria and also supply 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 of inadequate health professional in Nigeria”, the lawmaker said.
Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, however, referred the bills to the Committee on Tertiary Institutions and TETFUND for further legislative action and to report back in four weeks.