By Emmanuel Oloniruha
The Medical Director, Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Abuja, Prof. Saad Ahmed, has advised medical practitioners who had benefited from government’s investment in the health sector to reconsider their decisions to leave Nigeria for practice in other countries.
Ahmed gave the advice at the Annual General Meeting and scientific conference of the Association of Resident Doctors (ARD), FMC Jabi Chapter, in Abuja.
He said that the rate at which the country was losing its professional healthcare providers to other countries was worrisome.
He urged medical practitioners who had benefited from government investment in the health sector to think about Nigeria and the wellbeing of the people.
“When the country has invested so much in you by not paying tuition fee and other social services, even if you want to leave, I think you should think back on all those investments and see how you can give back to the country.
“Preferably, one should stay here, serve the nation and the people.
“We should think deeply that we are Nigerians and that Nigeria has invested in us. We should consider that we have people and relations living here. The moment we leave, the system here is going to suffer.
“I know as a medical student, I was paying N95 out of which N90 was for accommodation and five naira for medicals.
“Even up till now, I know of a university that medical students are paying N27,000 for a session and fee is not for tuition but for services, medicals, library, hostel maintenance and others,” he said.
Ahmed said that if nothing was done to urgently address the issue of brain drain in the health sector, the country’s healthcare system would collapse.
“There has to be adequate planning to address these monumental concerns.
“Of recent, I have lost more than 10 staff of FMC to countries like Saudi Arabia, United Kingdom and other places,” Ahmed said.
He also advised medical practitioners in Nigeria to be watchful not to contract COVID-19 in the course of rendering their services to the nation.
Ahmed commended members of the ARD for their necessary support to the healthcare system of the country, especially at FMC Jabi, calling for continuation of such support to move the sector forward.
The President, ARD FMC Abuja, Dr Arome Adejo, said that the week-long AGM and conference was to discuss the issue of COVID-19 pandemic and brain drain, as well as proffer solutions.
Adejo stressed the need for Nigeria to look inward even when there had been a breakthrough with the vaccine for COVID-19. (NAN)