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We can’t stop doctors from leaving Nigeria, says Reps committee chairman.

Expert lists problems of the health sector backs JOHESU on strike

 

Chairman, House Committee on Health Institutions, Dr. Paschal Chigozie Obi, has said that little could be done to discourage doctors and other health personnel from leaving the country for greener pastures, as they remain part of Nigeria’s foreign exchange-earners.

Obi said this yesterday, during an oversight visit by the House committee to Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Idi-Araba, Lagos.

He said: “There is a limit to what human beings can do on the issue of doctors or professionals leaving the country for greener pastures. We have been doing our best in collaboration with the Federal Government to ensure there are good conditions of service for our professionals.”

“We held several meetings with the National Association of Resident Doctors of Nigeria (NARD) and we hands-off when the matter went to court and we can’t do anything until the matter is withdrawn from the court because anything we do will be subjudice. So, we can’t interfere in the court process until it is settled. Right now, we are handicapped.

“We have invited JOHESU members to the table because they haven’t gone to court. We are trying to do our best to ensure that they don’t go to court. If they do, we will have no choice but to also hand off.

The Chief Medical Director (CMD), (LUTH), Prof. Chris Bode, who spoke on major challenges in the sector, said strikes were causing instability in the system, and disrupting services, training and research.

Also, a member of the House, Dr. Samuel Babatunde Adejare, said: “It is unfortunate that we are witnessing this. You need so much money to train yourself as a doctor overseas but here in Nigeria, what you need to get to be a doctor is a peanut compared to that. It, is, therefore, so unfortunate that when you get trained here, those people call and poach our doctors.”

SIMILARLY, the immediate past President of the Association of Community Pharmacists in Nigeria (ACPN), Samuel Adekola, has blamed the problems facing the health sector in the country on the medical personnel taking the leading positions in the sector.

He, therefore, justified the fresh 15-day notice issued by JOHESU and Assembly of Healthcare Professional Associations (AHPA) to embark on strike.

Adekola, however, noted that there had been some medical personnel in the saddle that has integrity, stressing that they are overwhelmed by undue pressure from their colleagues to further destroy the system.

“The truth about it is that we have been unfortunate in Nigeria in terms of having people who will want to take the bull by the horn to solve the problem. I must say sincerely that the health security of Nigeria will not thrive having a particular group of persons heading it.

“Even if they want to do what is right, they continue to be under intense pressure from their colleagues. And this is why JOHESU insists on going on strike again,” he said.