The Nigerian government has approved the appointment of retired doctors, nurses, and other clinical healthcare workers on contract, according to a circular from the Federal Ministry of Health.
The circular, dated October 5, 2023, directs the Chief Executive Agencies, Chief Medical Directors, Medical Directors, and Heads of Regulatory Bodies and Schools to ensure compliance with the circular earlier issued by the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation to all staff in their institutions.
The contract staff will be on the same salary scale level that they retired on, if desired and deserved.
The government’s decision comes amid a shortage of healthcare workers in Nigeria. Many doctors and nurses have recently left the country in search of better pay and working conditions.
In August 2023, the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation rejected a request to increase the retirement age of medical doctors and other health professionals from 60 to 70 and 75 years, respectively.
The circular said that the decision was made because professionals in the health sector were leaving the country because of financial considerations and unfavourable conditions of service, and not as a result of retirement age.
It also said that some state governments had already increased the retirement age of medical doctors and other health workers, which had not addressed the spate of brain drain.
The circular also said that the government was dissatisfied with the attitude of health workers to work, and that there was a need to institutionalise an effective performance management system in the public service in order to improve the work ethics of medical officers and consultants.
The Federal Ministry of Health urged all executives of agencies, Chief Medical Directors, Medical Directors, and Heads of Regulatory Bodies and Schools to ensure strict compliance with the directive from the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation.