Home Articles The Issue of Brain Drain In Nigerian Healthcare Sector and Possible Solutions To The Endemic

The Issue of Brain Drain In Nigerian Healthcare Sector and Possible Solutions To The Endemic

by Aker Daniel

The Issue of Brain Drain In Nigerian Healthcare Sector and Possible Solutions To The Endemic – Article by The Eagle. 

Truth been said, not always is the grass greener on the other side but this relates little to the Nigerian health sector, because most times the grass is certainly greener on the “other side”. The other side in this context are the 1st and 2nd World countries most specifically.

We are mobile beings, not only do we strive to create impact, we seek environments that encourage and supports it. So when we have people migrating from their core environment to another on this particular basis, it brings us closer to a term we call the brain drain.

Literally Brain drain means the departure of educated or professional people from one country, economic sector, or field for another usually for better pay or living conditions.

Medically, brain drain means the migration of a Medical Practitioner from his country of origin to other countries for better pay or living conditions, working facilities and specialization. This of course may be of a positive effect to both the migrants and the receiving countries, but rarely to the country of origin to which these professionals migrate from, which is undoubtedly the case of Nigeria.

This has become the irony of the Nigerian health sector, as the rate at which brain drain is plunging into the nation’s Healthcare sector is very alarming. The medical field is a highly skilled professional function in that anybody cannot wishfully be a part of it but choosing rather to submit to the adequate intense training of this profession. This in itself creates an automatic limit range to the population of the practitioners of this profession.

The most affected healthcare professional brainwashed by brain drain in Nigeria are the medical doctors. According to an estimation, not fewer than 1,000 medical doctors leave Nigeria yearly. According to statistics, there are about 72,000 doctors registered with the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN) and over half practise outside the country. In fact it is now a one doctor to 1,000 people ratio in Nigeria.

The brain drain issue requires crucial attention because of its adverse effects on the Nigerian healthcare system for which indirectly impacts population health outcomes and creates greater inequity among vulnerable populations or masses.

The mass exit of medical doctors is as a result of the poor funding of the health sector, low salary rate, inadequate equipments or facilities and an unproductive environment for practice. So due to the large amount of doctors leaving the country, the workload automatically increases for the few remaining, so as a medical practitioner you get to work twice as much and get paid twice as low.

Every doctor aims to practice the knowledge they’ve acquired in other to save lives, but what happens when the environment you find yourself frustrates those very efforts. Inadequate facility to treat their patient, they get stressed and that affects their productivity, the meagre salary downplay their zeal and the incessant strike that leaves patient dieing. The brain drain issue has made Nigerians to travel abroad for healthcare services, even the President of our beloved country do seek for medical care outside the country. How about the masses who aren’t financially buoyant, what does fate have for them? Should they survive or die?

However, with this being said, there are ways or means that should be deployed to tackle the brain drain issue in the Nigerian Health Sector.

The Nigerian Government should provide more funds, emoluments and incentives for medical practitioners. They should invest more in the Nigerian Health Sector. This will encourage Nigerian doctors to work hard and provide better medical services to their patients.

The Government should provide the health sector a wide range and up-to-date facilities that will facilitate a worthwhile working experience. Also the provision of equipments and periodic maintenance of these equipments will also be a necessity.

Good working conditions and environments should be made available to the health practitioners. They should be made to feel safe and comfortable while working.

Interest free loan should be made available to the heath practitioners at different levels of specialization. This will enable them run medical research and projects that can as well be of value to the heathcare system.

Also the Government should look into the residency training issue, it takes a longer time for a doctor to go for residency training and this issue tends to discourage the doctor and still constitutes a major driving power of brain draining. They should also create a conducive environment and support for specialists in different areas of the health sector.

If all of the above means are deployed, this will really go a long way to discourage brain drain in the Nigerian Health Sector. The health sector will start to “brain gain” and eventually, the Nigerian Health Sector will be great again.

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