The Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) said poor salaries and a lack of a conducive working environment forced many medical doctors and health workers to leave Nigeria for other countries with better remuneration.
NMA National President, Dr Uche Ojinmah stated this in an interview with newsmen on Thursday during the opening ceremony of the 2022 National Executive Council (NEC) meeting of the association held in Gombe.
He said doctors in Nigeria are underpaid and lack the basic equipment and conducive environment to work, hence they choose to leave the country for greener pastures, a development that causes the shortage of manpower in the country’s health sector.
Dr Ojinmah also decried the underfunding of the healthcare facilities by the Nigerian government, decrying that the country is yet to implement the 2001 Abuja declaration that recommended the allocation of 15 per cent of the budget to the health sector.
“In 2001, all the heads of states in Africa gathered in Abuja and held a meeting on how to improve the health sector. And at the end, they had a declaration that 15 per cent of the annual budget of every nation should be dedicated to health care.
“Unfortunately, since that time, Nigeria, the country that hosted the meeting could not implement that declaration. So, it is obvious that they know what to do to make it better, but maybe for political reasons, they are not,” he decried.
Dr Ojinmah noted that in order to improve health indices in the country, there was the need for government to increase funding for the health sector through the provision of equipment and adequate manpower in all the health facilities across the country.
He also emphasised the need for medical personnel to be well remunerated and provided with a conducive environment to practice their profession, “So as to reduce the massive brain drain that has hit the medical profession.”
The NMA president added that the association was disturbed over the activities of quacks among medical doctors, saying the association was collaborating with directors of medical facilities to rid the health sector of quackery.