Uche Ojinmah, the National President of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), has shed light on the reasons behind the increasing migration of Nigerian doctors to countries like Saudi Arabia, the UK, and others. In a conversation with DAMILOLA AINA, Ojinmah discussed the NMA’s plans following the January 31st ultimatum to the Federal Government regarding salary demands, among other issues.
Ojinmah clarified that the NMA does not conflict with the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN), emphasizing that while MDCN is a regulatory body, the NMA is an association for medical and dental practitioners. He expressed concerns about the timing of MDCN’s directives, which seemed to hamper the association’s efforts to address pressing issues, including salary increments and the threat of strikes.
The NMA President highlighted the challenges doctors face in Nigeria, including poor remuneration, lack of job satisfaction, insecurity, and an unstable economy. He pointed out that the salary structure for doctors, last revised in 2009, has significantly depreciated due to inflation and economic instability. Despite agreements with the government for salary increases, these have not been implemented, pushing many doctors to seek better opportunities abroad.
Ojinmah emphasized the need for the government to be proactive and honour its commitments to improving the working conditions of doctors in Nigeria. He warned that the continuous brain drain in the health sector could have severe consequences for the country’s healthcare system.
The migration of Nigerian doctors to countries with better working conditions and remuneration is a stark reminder of the challenges facing Nigeria’s healthcare system. Dr Uche Ojinmah’s insights into the reasons behind this trend highlight the urgent need for the government to address the issues of inadequate salaries, job dissatisfaction, and overall working conditions in the health sector.
The situation is not just about the personal choices of individual doctors but reflects a systemic problem that requires immediate attention. The government’s failure to implement agreed-upon salary increments and improve the working environment for medical professionals is leading to a brain drain that could cripple the nation’s healthcare system.
The Nigerian government must recognize the value of its medical workforce and take concrete steps to retain them. This includes increasing salaries and ensuring job satisfaction, security, and a stable economic environment. The health of a nation depends significantly on the well-being of its healthcare providers. Neglecting their needs and concerns could have dire consequences for public health and the country’s overall development.
As the NMA continues to advocate for the rights and welfare of medical practitioners in Nigeria, the government must engage in meaningful dialogue and take decisive action to prevent further loss of skilled medical professionals to other countries.
Did You Know?
- Nigeria has one of the highest rates of medical brain drain in Africa, with many doctors migrating to countries like the UK, USA, Saudi Arabia, and Canada for better opportunities.
- The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) is the largest medical association in West Africa, representing the interests of over 40,000 doctors and dentists in Nigeria.
- The Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN) regulates medical and dental practice in Nigeria, including the accreditation of medical and dental schools.
- The issue of brain drain in Nigeria’s health sector is exacerbated by factors such as inadequate healthcare infrastructure, poor remuneration, and challenging working conditions.
- Nigeria’s healthcare system faces numerous challenges, including a shortage of medical personnel, inadequate funding, and a high burden of diseases.