The Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) and National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) have reacted to an earlier comment made by the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, about Nigerian doctors being recruited by foreign embassies.
During an interview on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily on Wednesday, Chris Ngige had said that doctors who want to leave the country in search of greener pastures are free to do so as Nigeria has enough medical personnel.
Asked if he was concerned that the nation could be facing a medical crisis with the number of doctors leaving Nigeria, Ngige who is also a medical doctor said, he was not bothered that medical doctors are leaving Nigeria in droves, saying that the nation has a surplus of them and must therefore “export” to other countries.
But the NMA president, Dr. Adedayo Faduyile, said Ngige’s statement shows that he has done nothing in medical practice because Nigeria had no enough doctors, stressing the need to ensure the country retains its medical personnel. He said:
“That is an unfortunate statement which shows that he has done nothing in medical practice.
“The World Health Organisation stated that, for optimal healthcare to be achieved, we need doctor/patient ratio of one to 600.
“In Nigeria, we have 40,000 doctors taking care of 200 million people.
“It’s unfortunate, we do not have enough doctors. Maybe he is looking at the monetary part, but there is opportunity cost.
“We have the maternal mortality that is about the highest in the world. To correct it, we need health professionals around.”
NARD president, Dr. Olusegun Olaopa, said Ngige spoke as a politician. He said:
“He spoke as a politician who does not know what is happening in the country.
“The doctors we are losing are not fresh doctors but specialists. That means that Nigeria will continue to battle with shortage of specialist doctors.”