The president, Medical and Dental Consultants’ Association of Nigeria (MDCAN) Dr Victor Makanjuola has said that about 500 consultants in various medical fields left the government hospitals for overseas practice in the last two years.
He stated this yesterday in Benin, Edo State, while fielding questions from journalists after a briefing on the resolution reached at the end of the association’s annual general meeting.
“In the last two years, over 500 consultants have left the services of governments’ hospitals for practice abroad. All our government hospitals are consultant-led, which is the global standard practice.
“Now, we lose 500 consultants in just two years and we have found out that those who are more likely to leave are the younger ones,” he said.
He blamed the problems in the nation’s health sector largely on unresolved issues by the government, with health care workers leaving the shores of the country in droves for more secure climes with better conditions of service.
To sustain the system and be able to train the next generation of medical doctors and medical students, Makanjuola said Nigeria needs retain older consultants who are in their 50s and are getting closer to their retirement so that they can stay back and train the next generation of doctors and medical students.
“The disaster which brain drain will bring will be doubled because we will lose the younger ones and the older ones will retire about the same time, and unfortunately we will find a medical system without consultants. This will affect the standard of health care given by the hospital,” he said.
To further address the brain drain challenge, the MDCAN president advised the government to increase the retirement age for consultants in hospitals from the current 60 years to 70 years.
He added that stakeholders could also tap into medical entrepreneurship, an area that has not been tapped, noting that it had the potential to minimise brain drain and encourage brain gain.
Makanjuola lamented government’s efforts to address the challenges in the health sector have not been adequate
He warned that the union could not guarantee industrial harmony in government hospitals if the demands of the workers were not met in two weeks and urged well-meaning Nigerians to intervene to avert an impending crisis.