The Nigerian Medical Association, NMA, the National Association of Resident Doctors, NARD, and human rights groups have criticized the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, for saying that Nigeria has enough medical doctors.
Ngige, had on Wednesday, said doctors who feel they need to relocate in search of greener pastures are free to do so as the nation has enough medical personnel. While responding to a question on brain drain and the deliberate recruitment of Nigerian doctors by foreign embassies in Nigeria, the Minister said there is nothing wrong with doctors leaving the country as they will continue to send foreign exchange home which would, in turn, grow the economy.
When asked if he was sure of what he was saying, the minister said it is good for doctors to travel out as they would receive training from abroad and open up medical centres in Nigeria.
In separate reactions, the NMA president, Dr Francis Faduyile said Ngige does not have the knowledge of the World Health Organization’s recommendation on doctor-patient ratio. He said Nigeria does not have enough doctors, stressing the need to ensure the country retains its medical personnel. The NMA president alleged that in some states, doctors had not been paid for 10 months while in others; the total number of doctors employed was less than 40.
NARD President, Dr Segun Olaopa, said Ngige spoke as a politician, adding that the nation would continue to lose doctors with advanced medical training. Also, the National President, Medical and Dental Consultants Association of Nigeria, Prof Ngim Ngim, said Nigeria does not have enough doctors, and that all efforts must, therefore, be made to keep the ones that are still in the country.