The Medical and Dental Consultants’ Association of Nigeria has shown that nine out of every 10 medical and dental consultants with less than five years of experience plan to leave the country for greener pastures.
The MDCAN said the survey carried out in March 2022 by its Medical Education Committee also found that over 500 medical and dental consultants had left Nigeria for developed countries over the preceding two years.
The association made this known in a statement signed by its President, Dr Victor Makanjuola, and made available to The PUNCH on Wednesday.
The statement read in part, “Disturbed by the impact of this ugly trend on our country’s health sector growth and development, the MDCAN has conducted a survey among its chapters in March 2022 and found that over 500 medical and dental consultants had left Nigeria for more developed countries over the preceding two years.
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“A further exploration of data by the association’s Medical Education Committee showed that nine out of every 10 medical and dental consultants with less than five years experience on the job had plans to leave the country.
“Furthermore, the Nigerian Medical Association recently reported that only 24,000 doctors are currently registered to practise in Nigeria, giving a ratio of one doctor to over 8,000 Nigerians, against the World Health Organisation’s recommended ratio of one doctor to every 600 people.
“It is important to note that the average medical and dental consultant is not only a clinician but also doubles as a teacher for medical students and doctors in specialist (residency) training. It, therefore, goes without saying that the loss of this category of highly skilled workforce to other countries will not only have an immediate negative impact on clinical service delivery but will leave a long-term devastating impact on the training of future doctors in Nigeria.”
According to the association, the country produces approximately 12,000 doctors per year to meet the required number of doctors in the country.
“Anecdotal projections indicate that the 3,000 fresh medical and dental doctors, on average, produced by our local medical schools in Nigeria and another 1,000 produced by foreign medical schools, fall far short of the number of such healthcare personnel required to meet the country’s yearly medical manpower supply needs, estimated to fall between 10,000 and 12,000 (about three times the current rate),” it added.
85% doctors planning to leave Nigeria for greener pastures – NARD
At least 85 per cent of Nigerian doctors are planning to leave the country to seek greener pastures, Sunday PUNCH has learnt.
This is according to the data obtained from the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors.
The report also showed that the preferred countries for immigration intentions are the United Kingdom and the United States of America.
The NARD members are of House Officers, Registrars, Senior Registrars, and Medical Officers below the level of Principal Medical Officers.
Speaking with our correspondent, the President of the association, Dr Emeka, said if the government did not take steps to address the ongoing brain drain in the country, the situation will get worse in the health sector.
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“When we are saying these things, it looks as if it’s a joke. Mobility of labour is acceptable anywhere and what the government should do is to address the root causes of the immigration of doctors, as long as they don’t address it, when they see better opportunities out there, they will want to go there.
“It’s about the choices people make about themselves when they think that the government is not taking care of them. The government needs to improve on the things we have highlighted to reduce the brain drain,” he said.
He noted that as of October 2022, there were only 10,000 resident doctors in the country.
“Five months after, and we don’t have any reason to suggest that there is a downward scale of doctors migrating, if anything should be, it should be an increment in the immigration because nothing essentially has changed in terms of the working condition, infrastructure, security and all that,” he added.
Going by this figure, it means that 8,500 resident doctors plan to leave the country.
The 2023 macroeconomic outlook report released by the Nigerian Economic Summit Group recently said that aside from the considerable health infrastructural gap, Nigeria has lost many medical professionals to brain drain, leading to personnel inadequacy in the health sector.
The report said, “One of the major factors inhibiting Nigeria’s economic development has been the brain drain and knowledge gap in human capital. Knowledge as a significant driver of economies of scale can be increased by investing in education and providing better health services, which is the nation’s human capital formation.
“An equipped labour force, a stable economic environment, a thriving private sector, and robust social welfare programmes are crucial in attaining Shared Prosperity in Nigeria.”
How Nigerians above 40 can stay healthy – Physician
A public health expert, Dr. Akinlemibola Makinde, has urged Nigerians, especially those above 40 to consider creating health-related New Year resolutions to stay healthy.
Makinde, who is the chairman of the Association of General and Private Medical Practitioners of Nigeria also noted that it is essential to meet with one’s doctor to plan how to stay healthy and fit in the new year.
Speaking with PUNCH HealthWise in an interview, Makinde said some lifestyle changes are crucial to stay healthy each year.
He said, “Health-wise, it is necessary to make a new year’s health resolution to take care of yourself properly, what you eat, and so on, especially if you are above 40.
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“Changing one’s lifestyle is important. People should take more vegetables than carbohydrates, people should also exercise, not in a rigorous manner. Doing exercises like taking a walk, and taking plenty of water counts.”
Makinde noted that it can be difficult to abide by any resolution, but advised that people write down their health goals for the year and keep the document where they can see it daily making it easy to imbibe it as a habit.
He also stated that it is important to consult one’s doctor when deciding to make health changes stating that consultation with one’s doctor will assist the doctor to give specific recommendations necessary for the individual based on their health status and history.
Also, in an earlier interview, a nutritionist, James Oloyede, noted that as one approaches 40, the intake of certain foods should be limited.
According to him, people over 40 should stay away from refined carbohydrates found in pasta, pastries as well as white bread, processed meat like sausages, hot dogs, and fruit juices, adding that persons over 40 should also avoid fatty food, energy drinks, and the like.
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