By Kunle Akinsola
Following massive brain drain that has hit the nation’s health sector, Nigeria will need to employ expartrate medical doctors to mitigate its effects on the county’s citizens, according to the Medical Guild.
The Vice-Chairman of Lagos Medical Guild, Dr Oluwajimi Sodipo, said at a media briefing in Lagos that the situation in the health sector required urgent government intervention.
“If the brain drain is not urgently discouraged, the country might resort to `importing’ medical professionals to address the shortage,’’ he said.
As a first step, Sodipo called for incentives that would discourage brain drain among health workers.
On the Primary Health Care (PHC) system, he said the centres in the local governments across the country have become redundant and poorly funded.
He said the Federal Government should make the funds allocated for PHCs to be more accessible.
Persecondnews recalls that the late Minister of Health, Prof. Olikoye Ransome-Kuti, had inaugurate PHC under the Ibrahim Babangida military administration, a model which received global acclamation.
“Local governments should take PHCs as a priority especially with their attainment of autonomy.
“We need to start scrutinising the operations of the local governments to ensure they contribute their quotas to healthcare delivery in the country,” Sodipo said.
Sodipo added that all tiers of government should collaborate to find the right funding, operational model and management that would improve healthcare delivery.
The Chairman of the Guild, Dr Babajide Saheed, urged the Federal Government to declare a state of emergency toward revitalising the health sector.
He noted that 59 years after Nigeria’s Independence, its health sector had deteriorated resulting in medical tourism.
“In the past, people came from overseas to get medical treatment at the University College Hospital, Ibadan; but now, the reverse is the case. Government is not pumping money into the health sector.
“The Abuja Declaration on 15 per cent funding for the health sector is yet to be fulfilled.
“Quality health service delivery, not corruption, should be the focus of government because once a country does not get it right with its health and education systems, it has failed.
“The way emergency was declared in the security situation of the country, the same should be done for the health sector so that we can chart a way forward,” he said at the briefing.
Saheed said a functional primary healthcare system in the country was an effective way of addressing the nation’s health challenges.
He said: “We should follow it up with an effective secondary and tertiary care, the tertiary care will take care of medical tourism.
“Each region in the country should have hospitals for specialisation — like pediatric, cardiology — and we will not need to move out of the country.”
Saheed said stakeholders should agree on collective and common agenda that would deliver efficient, affordable and accessible healthcare services in the country.