Nigerian Doctors Earn 3 Times More in Other African Countries, According to the Committee of Chief Medical Doctors
In a recent development, the Chairman of the Committee of Chief Medical Directors of Federal Tertiary Hospitals, Professor Emem Bassey, has brought attention to a growing concern: the exodus of Nigerian medical doctors and healthcare professionals to neighboring African countries. The distinguished medical expert addressed this alarming trend while testifying before the House of Representatives Ad hoc Committee tasked with investigating employment irregularities within Federal Government agencies.
Prof. Bassey emphasized that the issue had escalated to the point where nations such as Sierra Leone and Gambia were enticing Nigerian medical professionals with salaries ranging from $3000 to $4000—surpassing domestic earnings by three to fourfold. This remuneration gap has prompted a significant number of health specialists, including doctors, nurses, laboratory scientists, physiotherapists, and radiographers, to seek opportunities abroad, aggravating a manpower crisis in Nigeria’s healthcare sector.
The predicament is multifaceted, as professionals often choose to abandon their posts due to unfulfilled promises by the government and inadequate working conditions. Prof. Bassey outlined that previous administrations had engaged in agreements that ultimately proved unattainable, leading to recurrent strike actions. He underscored the urgent need for collaboration and negotiation to address these challenges, stressing that finding suitable replacements for the departing workforce was a formidable undertaking.
Additionally, Prof. Bassey acknowledged that the present situation posed difficulties in adhering strictly to federal character principles during recruitment efforts. The urgency to fill vacant positions was frequently at odds with the meticulous processes required to maintain a balanced distribution of opportunities across the nation.
The Chairman of the Ad hoc Committee, Honorable Yusuf Gagdi, urged medical professionals to demonstrate patriotism by contributing to Nigeria’s development, even when more enticing options exist abroad. Hon. Gagdi acknowledged the undeniable shortage of advanced medical facilities within the nation’s healthcare sector and expressed the committee’s commitment to addressing this issue.
While acknowledging the lure of superior working conditions overseas, Hon. Gagdi emphasized the importance of giving back to the country that had nurtured their expertise. He challenged medical professionals to uphold their commitment to their profession and the moral imperative to contribute to the welfare of their homeland.
In the context of the ongoing discussions, the committee plans to evaluate the submissions of the various institutions with pending recruitment cases and uniquely address their situations. For institutions without pending cases, the committee pledged to examine their circumstances and concerns.
It is evident that the committee views this matter with utmost seriousness, as the final recommendations they put forth will significantly impact the healthcare landscape and the future of medical professionals in Nigeria. As the nation grapples with the complexities of retaining skilled healthcare workers while addressing systemic challenges, the government faces a pivotal moment in shaping the trajectory of the nation’s medical sector.