In order to discourage brain-drain and save the health sector from total collapse, the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) has urged governments at all levels in the country to improve on doctor’s welfare and remuneration.
The President of NMA, Prof. Innocent Ujah, stated this during a press conference to commemorate the 2021 Physicians’ week in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.
The theme for the 2021 Physicians’ Week is: ‘Nigeria in the COVID Era and Beyond: Health Systems Strengthening for National Security and Prosperity’.
Ujah said Nigerian doctors were leaving the country because the working environment is hostile and the remuneration is poor.
He said if the trend was not addressed by the various governments, the consequences would be disastrous in the health sector.
According to him, “The issue of brain-drain among medical doctors must be urgently addressed by governments; otherwise the consequences of turning a blind eye to this will be ominous earlier than expected, while attempts to reverse the trend may be a herculean task with Nigeria being worse off.
“Incentivisation of healthcare workers will motivate them to work harder and give their best as health, it is said, is wealth, but we add that health is better than wealth.”
Ujah stated that the issue of payment of hazard allowance to doctors and other health workers should be implemented without further delay, stressing that this would renew the confidence, commitment and dedication of health workers.
The president of the association also called for a total overhaul of the country health sector through improved budgetary allocation and effective implementation of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).
On the lingering crisis in the health sector, he appealed to various agencies of government to ensure that urgent attention and appropriate response is given to the full implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed by the NMA.
Ujah said the association condemned the kidnapping and killings of doctors and other health workers by insurgents, particularly the recent killings of doctors in Anambra State.
“We also urge the federal government to do all within its powers to rescue those in captivity, while also ensuring the security and safety of all health workers as well as every other Nigerian,” he said.