A group of concerned and committed Nigerian health workers at home and in the Diaspora, CovidNigeriaMedics, have advised Nigeria to explore the option of health brain circulation and transfer of skills among experts at home and abroad.
The advice, according to the group, is premised on the constant brain drain of medical experts from Nigeria to other countries of the world.
The call was part of the recommendations at the end of a Webinar conference CovidNigeriaMedics held with over 100 participants in attendance, recently.
The conference was with the theme: ‘COVID19: Transforming Healthcare Delivery in Nigeria.’
The group further recommended the need to, “enhance research and medipreneurship collaboration among Nigerians at home and in diaspora; improve and modifying work schedule and remuneration of healthcare workers; improve welfare packages of health workers (housing, vehicle, children’s education, health, and life insurance.) and enhance digital and tele medicine.”
It also called on its members to step up engagement and dialogue with Nigerian policy makers both at national and state levels on the concept of Brain Circulation considering that the Covid-19 had further worsen the health workforce in the country.
In a statement in Abuja, the group disclosed that the lead speaker during the Webinar conference was Dr. Jameel Ismail Ahmad, a Cardiothoracic Surgeon/Senior Lecturer with Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital & Bayero University, Kano.
He presented a paper with the topic: From Brain drain/Brain gain Theory, to Brain Circulation Paradigm; Rethinking the future of Health Workforce in Nigeria.
“The paper observed that only half of the 74,543 registered doctors are estimated to be in Nigeria, with some late and many internally or externally drained.
“Thus, based on the WHO estimates of Doctor: Patient ratio of 1:600, Nigeria requires more than 300,000 doctors and so there is doctor’s deficit of about 260,000 and requires producing 10,000 retainable doctors yearly for several years.
“The paper defined ‘Brain-drain’ of healthcare workers as the movement of health personnel in search of a better standard of living and life quality, higher salaries, access to advanced technology and more stable political conditions in different places worldwide.
“It was estimated that Nigeria lost about $2 billion in training of doctors who migrate to other countries.
“The webinar also highlighted that, to ensure Brain Circulation; a transparent enabling environment must be provided with solid health administrative policy, workable and sincere healthcare financing, improved healthcare spending and expanding access to quality medical education to ramp-up the healthcare workers deficits, improve ease of doing business for healthcare Start-ups and public-private partnership projects to mention but few.”