The Speaker of Nigeria’s House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has pleaded with medical graduates in the country to practise in Nigeria rather than travelling abroad for greener pastures.
Mr Gbajabiamila, who was represented by the deputy chairperson of the House of Representatives’ Committee on Health Service, Samuel Adejare, gave the advice on Monday during the induction of 54 newly qualified medical graduates of the Benjamin Carson College of Health and Medical Sciences, Babcock University, Ilishan Remo, Ogun State, by the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN).
He urged the newly inducted doctors and others to stay and offer their services in Nigeria, saying they should be patriotic to a nation that offers them the training.
A statement issued by the university’s director of communication, Joshua Suleiman, quoted the speaker to have said: “We need our doctors, please consider your country and God will be with you.”
Mr Gbajabiamila’s call was in response to the exodus of Nigerian medical and paramedical practitioners abroad over poor welfare and unfriendly conditions of practice.
The consequences of the exodus include shortage of healthcare workers when compared to the nation’s needs and the poor ratios of healthcare workers to Nigerian patients.
As of 2020, Nigeria had a doctor-patient ratio of 1:2,753, in sharp contrast to the World Health Organization (WHO)’s minimum recommended ratio of 1:400-600.
In 2021, the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) was on strike for 63 days for reasons including the non-payment of some of its allowances.
In August of the same year, the Nigerian Secret Police, SSS, disrupted a recruitment process of doctors by the Saudi Arabian health ministry, in which hundreds of Nigerian doctors were taking part in Abuja, the nation’s capital.
Meanwhile, the Abia State Governor, Okezie Ikpeazu, has commended the private university for its investment in quality education, and urged the inductees to uphold the hippocratic oath “to serve mankind without prejudice.”
The governor, whose daughter was among the inductees, urged them to persevere so as to see “Canaan land.”
“I have no doubt whatsoever of the quality of training these doctors have received. If it were not so, I would not have sent my daughter here and another coming along,” he said, adding; “I am a firm believer of the Nigerian project. Trials will come but giants stand tall in the midst of trials.”
Also speaking, MDCN registrar, Tajudeen Sanusi, called on the inductees to always remember to uphold their code of medical ethics and avoid anything that would compromise their professionalism.
The provost of the college, Barnabas Mandong, applauded the inductees, describing the set as the brightest since the inception of the school.
He said 15 of them graduated with distinctions in various courses.
He commended their perseverance, determination and courage to go through the rigours of medical training, and wished them the best in future.