51 Health Workers Exit FMC, Rep Members Pledge To Stem Brain Drain

The House of Representatives Committee on Health Institutions has committed to reducing the emigration of Nigerians seeking medical care abroad and doctors departing for better opportunities overseas.

This commitment came in response to the revelation made by Prof Sa’ad Ahmed, the Medical Director of the Federal Medical Centre, Jabi, Abuja.

He disclosed that approximately 51 healthcare workers have left the hospital since the committee’s oversight function visit at the beginning of 2023 to assess healthcare delivery levels.

During the visit, the Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Health Institutions, Amos Magaji, emphasized the committee’s focus on enhancing the budgetary allocation for the health sector.

Magaji stated that the committee is actively working to secure additional land allocation to expand healthcare services at the hospital.

He commented, “Regarding the health budget, it’s common knowledge that the national budget is limited, and the healthcare budget is an area that requires attention. We’re striving to ensure that as the nation prospers, the budget allocation for the nation will also improve. There are dilapidated infrastructures everywhere and issues in the education and power sectors.

“That’s why we’re conducting this oversight function to assess our existing resources before the budget presentation. We can identify areas in need of intervention. This hospital is of great importance to us, and we must pay more attention to health because health is wealth.

“Until you’re ill, you may not appreciate the value of health, and regardless of one’s wealth, certain emergencies may lead to dire consequences without accessible hospitals. We need our healthcare system to function properly.

“One of the primary areas this committee addresses is the reduction of medical tourism. We’re not advocating for its complete cessation, but rather its reduction. We want individuals from countries like Niger Republic, Ghana, and Egypt to access healthcare services here.

“We’re working towards minimizing medical tourism, which cannot be achieved until we address manpower, equipment, infrastructure, particularly in the Federal Capital Territory.

Magaji also pledged that the committee would intervene in the healthcare sector to ensure affordable, accessible, and high-quality healthcare in the country.

In the meantime, Prof. Ahmed expressed concern that the ongoing brain drain impacts every department in the hospital.

We are currently facing a shortage of personnel in the Ear, Nose, and Throat department. Our neurology department has only one consultant, with clinics operating only once weekly. The cardiology department is also struggling to cope with increasing demand for services. In physiotherapy, we’ve lost four or five personnel. Every department is affected.

“Over the course of this year, about 51 staff members have left the facility. This is a significant issue that continues to worsen. While we can discuss one-for-one replacement, finding individuals with the departing staff’s level of experience can be challenging,” he explained.

The professor urged the committee to review the health reform committee’s report to enhance the health sector.

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