Nigeria’s Minister of State for Health, Dr Olorunnimbe Mamora on Sunday, said that the Federal Government was working assiduously to discourage the brain drain of doctors from the country, by committing to build a healthy system that would guarantee universal access to comprehensive, efficient, affordable, adequate, equitable, and quality healthcare for all Nigerians.
Speaking at the inauguration of the annex of the Federal Medical Centre and Research Centre, in Akure, the said Government was renewing its focus on discouraging the outflow of Nigerian health workers, especially physicians, overseas.
The minister said that the Federal Government had plans to fund hospitals across the country, as well as to motivate doctors and other health workers, to make such migration unattractive.
He further revealed that the plan would also help to discourage medical tourism.
“This is an issue of concern for all of us and we are already looking at the factors which, we know, largely in terms of what is responsible.
“One of it is the remuneration and I want to repeat it here that no amount paid to any health worker will compensate adequately, looking at the hazards they are exposed to.
“So, we are working on how to increase it a bit for our health workers, and you will recall that just a few days ago, we had engagement with all the leaders of the unions in the health sector.
“We are working together on how to increase and put in place a hazard allowance that will show we appreciate what they are doing.
“And do not forget that the Medical Residency programme is free, you need to know how expensive it is abroad, but we are now giving it free to our Resident Doctors.
“We also have an insurance scheme in place, which everyone on the payroll of government is entitled to. We are doing everything possible just to raise the compensation,” he said.
On the inauguration of the health facility, he noted that it was not the size of the structure that mattered, but its functionality and capacity to deliver the services for which it was built.
“The whole concept of universal health coverage is accessibility. It must be accessible and it must also be affordable.
” It must be available, because it might be available and not be accessible, so the first thing is availability, next thing is accessibility and it must be affordable.
“This is the one of the reasons the Federal Government is working hard on the health insurance. This is one of the ways of achieving health care financing, and we are not just stopping at the level of the Federal Government,” he said.
The Chief Medical Director (CMD) of the hospital, Dr Liasu Ahmed, said the newly inaugurated projects would assist in providing better health services to the people, as the hospital had what it takes to be named ‘College of Medicine’ of any university.
The CMD, who thanked the minister for the visit, said the centre would continue to work assiduously to provide qualitative health services to the people.