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Nigeria must stop ‘scary’ exodus of doctors, says Gbajabiamila

  Femi Gbajabiamila, speaker of the house of representatives, says the legislature is working to ensure that Nigeria does not keep losing me...


 

Femi Gbajabiamila, speaker of the house of representatives, says the legislature is working to ensure that Nigeria does not keep losing medical doctors to other countries.

 

Gbajabiamila spoke on Thursday when some members of the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) led by Emeka Orji, the president, paid him a visit at the national assembly.

 

The speaker said the number of doctors leaving the country is “very scary”, adding that “definitely something must be wrong”.

 

“You have identified that to be the issue of emoluments and salaries, that’s always a very important issue. If you work, you must get paid, and you must get paid a good salary,” he said.

 

Gbajabiamila, however, said while it is important to provide better welfare for doctors, the country is facing a revenue shortfall.

 

“This is a worldwide phenomenon, right now everything is going down. Countries are not making as much revenue as they should. And I’m sure a lot of doctors that leave the shores of Nigeria in search of greener pastures, many of them will be happy, many of them will also realise it’s not so easy on the other side either,” he said.

 

“What I would like to encourage you to do is to tarry a while, be a little bit more patient, and stay. As long as you have our ears here as your legislature, we will always, as best as possible, come to your aid.

 

 “So, let’s put a stop to this brain drain as best as we can whilst we, on this side, try to make the environment a lot easier for you.”

 

HEALTH SECTOR TO BE PRIORITISED IN 2023 BUDGET’

The speaker added that health will receive priority as lawmakers consider the 2023 budget.

“We’ll have a look at what percentage we have in this year’s budget for the health sector. We got the budget about a week ago, I’m still going through it, but I will zero in on health to find out what the percentage is, and how far away we are from the Abuja declaration,” he said.

 “I cannot promise that here. If we have fallen short, we will augment it, I cannot make that promise because it depends on a whole host of other things, but we will try our best to at least, come close. We will try our best to look at it objectively within the context of the revenue that is available to the country.

“There are so many things going on right now. That’s where the sacrifice comes in. Oil theft, dwindling revenue, the Ukraine war, and so many other things and everybody’s competing for the lean revenue, but we know our priority areas, education, and health, are priority areas. We’ll do everything we can to make sure that as best as we can, we come as close to the Abuja declaration, as we can.

“The COVID-19 pandemic exposed the underbelly of our health sector, so we must not be caught napping again, and whatever we need to do, we must do.”

In his remarks, Orji called for improved working conditions for resident doctors and adequate funding for residency training.

He also called for the restoration of the overseas exchange programme, an upward review of the salary structure for resident doctors, and stressed the need to amend the Medical Registration Act.

 

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