Nigeria News

Our Labour Minister Goofs On Health Issue

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Nigeria News takes a look at the comment of the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige on brain drain as it affects medical doctors.

Figures andwords rule the world mostly when it comes to measuring wealth and wisdom.

Our medicaldoctor who is now a politician and presently the Minister of Labour andEmployment, Dr. Chris Ngige has since lost touch with his primary constituency.

I don’t envythe former Governor of Anambra State. The burden of leading one of the mostunderpaid set of public workers must be too heavy for him to know that the countryis battling with brain drain seriously.

Of course, he agreed that many of our medical doctors are jetting out of the country on a daily basis, his error is telling Nigerians that we have them in surplus. To him, so far some of them come back home to set up hospitals, the issue of brain drain has been addressed.

The ministergoofed, big time. He said on Channel Television that if the doctors want toleave the country, they are free because we have enough and that the braindrain is a blessing in disguise.

“They leave and come back to set up quality private hospitals here in Nigeria,” that was how our minister put it. He would need to be told that the private hospitals around are just too expensive for poor people.

Perhaps Dr Ngige should be reminded of the World Health Organisation’s standard of a physician to a population of patients.

According tothe report by the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria, one doctor to 600patients is the WHO recommended standard.

But as attoday, it is 0.395 physician to 1000 patients in Nigeria, which is far belowthe WHO recommended standard.

The medicalcouncil made us understand that there were 73,000 registered doctors in Nigeriain 2018 out of which only 35,000 are practising in Nigeria.

Almost halfof them have run away from the country because of lack of facilities andunderemployment.

To the Nigeria Medical Association, only 40,000 doctors care for about 200 million Nigerians.

In 1960, theratio of physician to patients was 0.017 and it grew to 0.39 in 2010. This isfar below the 2.5 recommended by WHO, yet Ngige said there is surplus. Wheredid the Minister get his records?

In 2014,there were 29,514 registered physicians, which of course has grown to over35,000. Records show that this figure can be halved within a year if care isnot taken, judging by the exodus of the medical practitioners.

No viableresearch is going on in the country. Most of the medical research institutehave become the administrative offices for medical doctors.

The facilities are obsolete. The teaching hospitals have virtually become morgues where the dead are used for an experiment.

I learntthat the moment a patient is referred to a teaching hospital, he is condemnedto death because there is no equipment to help him or her survive.

The patient automatically becomes a specimen in the hands of student doctors, most of whom now enrol to study outside the country for quality medical education.

I think,what the Ministry of health and by extension the Federal Government of Nigeriashould be concentrating on is how to make this country attractive for medicalsas it is being done in India today.

Nigeria has got some of the most talented medical personnel. They are poached out of the country because our leaders do not even have their records.

Ngige hasreceived enough bashing in the media, there is need for our ministers to be upto date.

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