Online media channels went viral particularly twitter as against the outburst of the minister of labour and productivity Dr Chris Ngige who was quoted as saying Doctors can leave Nigeria claiming that the country had enough to contend with in terms of its needs and demands!
Ngige made this comment on a channels television platform sunrise Daily, while responding to question on brain drain and the deliberate recruitment of Nigerian Doctors by foreign embassies to the detriment of the nation’s health sector.
The minister in response claim that Nigeria has 350,000 medical doctors, far more than the 260,000 which according to him, the world health organisation (WHO) prescribes for the country.
Ngige said there was nothing wrong with doctors leaving the country as they would continue to send home money which could, in turn, grows the economy.
“I am not worried about doctors leaving the country. We have a surplus. If you have a surplus, you export. It happened some years ago. I was taught chemistry and biology by Indian teachers in my secondary school days; they are surplus in their country. We have a surplus in the medical profession in our country. I can tell you this. It is my area, we have excess,” he said.
When asked why Nigeria is not having doctors to man rural areas, Ngige said: “Who said we don’t have enough doctors? We have more than enough, they go out, and they sharpen their skills. You can quote me. There is nothing wrong with them travelling out. When they go abroad, they earn money and send them back home here. We have foreign exchange earnings from them and not just oil. Those guys go there, they are better trained because of the facilities they have there.
“I know some of them who have come back home and opened medical centres here. I know a doctor from America who left in the 80s, we were in medical school together. Now he has a facility in Imo State. He has about four facilities in Maryland where he’s practising, and so you tell me that it’s a brain drain.
“They set up medical centres back home, and in their centre, they have CAT scan, MRI scan which even the government cannot maintain. So, I don’t see any loss.”. When asked if brain drain is not hurting the health sector, the minister said: “Brain drain will only be inimical when, for instance, neurosurgeons travel and we don’t have neurosurgeons here.”Nigeria is believed to be one of the country’s most affected by emigration of medical professionals, with about 12 doctors leaving the country every week.
But reacting on social media, a twitter handle @toku says the claim that the country has surplus Doctors and that it should be exported for economic gains is nothing other than faking up reality, while he urges the minister to do more research in other to get some facts that the country may work with.
Others respondents believe the minister of labour should do more of findings before coming to national television to give what they describe as questionable claims
"There should be more researches that should be done at the ministry of labour periodically particularly about the level of unemployment that the country is being raved with and to enable Nigerians to know how governments at all levels are been able to solve those challenges and not coming out to reel fictitious claims"