Japa’: Health Minister laments exodus of doctors, nurses, others

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Minister of State for Health, Ekumankama Nkama, has lamented the dearth of doctors, nurses and other health professionals in government hospitals across the country occasioned by their relocation abroad.

The minister stated that some health institutions have closed down some wards due to shortage of personnel.

“This ‘japa’ syndrome is adversely affecting services in our hospitals, to the extent that some wards are closed for lack of personnel to man them,” the minister said.

Nkana spoke at the inauguration of bedded Intensive Care Unit, Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Paediatric Intensive Care Unit, and Labour ward at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) at the weekend.

He was represented at the event by the Director, National Cancer Control Programme of the ministry, Dr. David Atuwo.

Nkama stated that the Federal Ministry of Health is working with the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation to ensure replacing exiting staff and also bring back health professionals in the diaspora.

“The ministry is also working on a brain gain mechanism whereby our health professionals in the diaspora can be incentivised to come home and give paid expert service to our citizens. This is a win win situation for the nation and our experienced medical professionals in the diaspora.

“I am glad the Head of Service is here in person as her office has been very cooperative. Let me thank her profusely for all her efforts in this regard. The full implementation of this initiative will ensure that services are maintained at the present level.”

Several Chief Medical Directors of teaching hospitals in the country had lamented the exit of critical health personnel.

The Star had reported that the University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan had been hit with exodus of 600 health workers within the last one year.

At least, 15 Nurses, Doctors and Pharmacists, among others exit UCH on a weekly basis.

The Chief Medical Director (CMD) of UCH, Prof. Abiodun Otegbayo, confirmed the resignation of clinicians.

According to him, “Every week, I signed resignation letters of 15 health workers at the institution, who are mostly clinicians, that is, Nurses, Doctors and Pharmacists, among others.”

Hence, the CMD called for removal of bottlenecks in replacing workforce due to mass exodus of health workers.

Otegbayo said that from 2020 to October 15, 2022, no fewer than 600 clinical staff had left the hospital, noting that bureaucracy bottlenecks had been hindering their replacement.

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