Nigerian News

Japa Syndrome: Successful doctors considering coming back to practice – Health minister

Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Muhammad Ali Pate, has stated that successful Nigerian doctors, nurses and health practitioners abroad are considering returning to Nigeria if the enabling infrastructure is provided.

He made the statement on Channels Television’s Sunday Politics, while pointing out that there are many health workers who chose to remain in Nigeria to serve the country despite the opportunity to move abroad where there are guaranteed of better pay and welfare package.

He said; “Some that have been successful are also begin to think of how to come back if the enabling infrastructure is provided.

There are also thousands who are here that despite the opportunity to travel abroad, they are not travelling abroad and we do appreciate them,” he stated, adding that some Nigerians health professionals simply “go to get trainings abroad with the expectation that they will come back better skilled and contribute at home”.

The minister also said the government is doing all it can to make the industry conducive for health professionals and prevent the migration phenomenon known as Japa.

Pate added; “The lifeblood of the health sector is the human resource. That is the most important ingredient, not the hospitals, though they are very important complements. There are about 300,000 health professionals working in Nigeria today, of all cadres; doctors, nurses, midwives, pharmacists, laboratory scientists.

“There are about 55,000 licensed medical doctors in Nigeria, they are no sufficient and not well-distributed across the country. Can you believe that most of the doctors and high professionals are in Lagos, Abuja and a few other urban centres? So, there is huge distribution challenge.”

The health minister said about 15,000 doctors have been lost in the last five years, but the government is committed to expanding its training programme to fill up the vacuum.

Furthermore, Pate said his ministry is working with the National Salaries Incomes And Wages Commission to raise the pay of health workers in Nigeria.