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July 14, 2024

Preserving Healthcare Talent to Overcome Brain Drain Challenges in Nigeria

By Abdulhameed M. Abdullahi

Brain drain, the migration of highly skilled professionals seeking better opportunities, poses a significant concern in various sectors worldwide, particularly in healthcare.

Developing countries like Nigeria, India, and Ghana struggle to retain doctors and healthcare professionals who seek better prospects in developed countries such as the US, Canada, Australia, and the UK.

The impact of brain drain on Nigeria’s health sector is profound, with a low ratio of doctors to patients, approximately 1:10,000. This scarcity of healthcare professionals results in limited access to quality healthcare services, longer waiting times, and increased mortality rates, leading to adverse effects on the economy and education sectors.

The syndrome has been a persistent problem in many developing countries, including Nigeria, India, and Ghana.

These countries struggle to keep their doctors and other healthcare professionals from seeking job opportunities in developed countries such as the United States, Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom.

The impact of brain drain in the health sector is far-reaching in Nigeria. The low ratio of doctors to patients is among the negative impacts of this phenomenon which is about 1:10,000 With fewer healthcare professionals in the country, patients often struggle to access quality healthcare services, leading to longer waiting times in healthcare facilities and increased mortality rates. This situation, in turn, creates a domino effect on other sectors, such as the economy and education, leading to a massive economic carnage.

The consequences of brain drain in the health sector are the emergence of unprofessionalism in the country, and this ultimately affects the quality of healthcare services being delivered.

The few healthcare professionals left in the country are often overworked, overstretched, and struggling to cope with the high demand for healthcare services. This results in many inexperienced medical practitioners offering poor quality care to patients, and the consequences can be devastating.

“This idea that people go away and do great work but then they come back, if you get that in balance and figure out the education funding piece of that, that is a super healthy thing in computer science, in health, in a business, and other areas,”.

“You say, ‘Some of our doctors can go get a very high salary in the UK or the US.’ Some of them will pay to their family broadly and some of them will return.” Bill gate said this in lagos on wednesday 21,2023,at a program “Unleashing the Power of Youth in Science & Innovation”.

From the context,it is not compatible for nigerians at diaspora,to come back in other to contribute their wealth of experience for the nation it tend to be difficult, Most of them don’t see it as viable factor to volunteer with wages while making a huge money from abroad upon all the educational benefit, which make them used the nigeria licensed on their CV that gives them a threshold for their japa.

To tackle the problem of brain drain, the government needs to develop policies and programs that will encourage doctors and other healthcare professionals to stay in the country by offering them better working conditions, stable salaries,and favorable legal environment.

Nigerian law doesn’t encourage double taxation like the US, UK and other developed countries do, it could have being a pathway for a proffer solution to FG after pursuing suitable development of health care development. Then, Double taxation to the immigrants could ease and curtail the brain drain syndrome, without hitches if treaties adhere with those immigrant countries,double taxation would surpass the licences restriction agitation by Nigeria lawmakers on Medical Dental Council Of Nigeria and it will be possible to put an alternative to bridge human resources gap in our country or by establishing Balik scientific programs in the country’s laws is one of the ways to create such an enabling environment for healthcare workers to thrive.

Nigeria law makers can have specific law like the philippine, by using Balik scientific act program; doctors, nurses, and other health professional at diaspora who went to dubai and other developed country will have limited time of practice working abroad, they later comeback contribute to their country, and this helps to boost the Philippine GDP. If nigeria lawmakers implement the Balik scientific program act it will help to curtail the brain drain syndrome.

Also, investing in medical training and research and development will create job opportunities for doctors and healthcare professionals which is paramount and we hope to see this administration achieved to strengthened the menace of human resources gap, and we can see from the initial appointment of SA’s the appointee of special adviser on health Dr Salma I.A kolo to president tinubu is commendable, whose track record uplift her to the current position as SA to the president of Nigeria and we hope the president absorbed these act by putting them into consideration.

This will create an atmosphere of growth and development, ultimately leading to improved healthcare systems. And also the Federal Government need to pursued in revamping the health facilities infrastructure and provide better healthcare facilities and equipment that will attract highly skilled healthcare professionals to stay within the country.

The Basic health care provision fund,need to be reviewed and ascertain solid monitoring and supervision that would enhanced and hasten the services of primary health care facilities.

Moreso Ever, with the dissolution of MDA’s which is a welcomed development to the health sector; a thorough investigation need to put in placed of health regulatory bodies, NBTE And responsible body in relation of health practices and school or colleges of health which would helps to curtail numerous of ethical and medical misconduct and avert the proliferation of substandard school or college of health.

The monumental and gross misconduct in our country mostly in primary health care centre and underserved areas is alarming,the brain drain trigger almost part of these situation we arouse today which it significant challenge that the health sector faces, and it is affecting the sector’s performance and quality of healthcare services delivered in our dear nation. However, with a concerted effort on the part of governments of nigeria and other stakeholders, it is possible to evaluate and tackle this issue. By investing in research and development, changing policies, and offering better working conditions, we can create a better future for the healthcare sector, which will improve the well-being of citizens and boost economic growth.

Abdulhamid M. Abdullahi is a
National Coordinator,
Coalition of professional Health Volunteers Association Of Nigeria.

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