The Chairman of the Committee of Chief Medical Directors of Federal Tertiary Hospitals, Prof. Emem Bassey, on Wednesday, said other African countries are now poaching Nigerian medical doctors and other health professionals.
He also said that countries like Sierra Leone and Gambia were offering them up to $3000 to $4000 which was about three to four times in the country.
Bassey, who is the CMD of the University of Uyo Teaching Hospital, said the health sector is currently undergoing a major crisis in terms of manpower as health professionals are leaving in droves.
He also said doctors often went on strike because the government often failed to meet unrealizable promises.
Bassey said this when he appeared before the House of Representatives Ad hoc Committee to probe employment racketeering in Federal Government agencies alongside the heads of other health institutions in the country.
He said, “Some African countries are also beginning to poach from Nigeria. The West Coast is looking for our specialists. So many people are now going to places like Sierra Leone and Gambia and the wages they earn $3000 to $ 4000. It is about three to four times what they earn back home. So we are beginning to see that people are leaving for other African countries too.
“The health sector is currently undergoing a major crisis in terms of manpower. What we are seeing is that medical specialists, not just doctors, even nurses, in fact, even more nurses are leaving. Doctors, nurses, laboratory scientists, physiotherapists, radiographers, and all manner of health professionals are leaving the country in droves.
“That is part of the problem we are facing. Replacement of these health workers is a major problem. This is because even though we are usually granted approvals to recruit, getting the waivers is a tortuous process.”
He said due to the urgency of the need to replace various health professionals who leave, it is difficult to comply with federal character in recruitment.
He also noted that previous governments had reached ridiculous agreements because of their urgent need to end strike actions.
Bassey added, “A strike should be the very last option, but one of the things we have seen has been the fact that we see threats and threats and threats. I would say, that governments in the past sitting had negotiated resolutions that are not feasible, just because they want to end a strike.
“ Now, they have agreements that they cannot implement. And then after a certain period, six months or one year and you have not implemented it, people now go on strike. So we need to sit down together and negotiate.”
The Chairman of the Ad hoc Committee, Hon. Yusuf Gagdi, urged the doctors to be patriotic by staying back to contribute to the development of the country, even if they have better options abroad.
He said the committee would work towards addressing the need to balance compliance to the spirit of federal character and filling up urgent vacancies in the health sector.