Stakeholders in the health sector have lamented that no fewer than 5,405 Nigerian-trained doctors and nurses are currently working with the British National Health Service (NHS) in the United Kingdom (U.K.)
Speaking during a news conference with a theme titled: “The Diaspora as Nigeria’s Brain Gain,” one of the stakeholders, Dr. Ifeanyi Nsofor, Director, Policy and Advocacy, Nigeria Health Watch, said that the development makes Nigeria the highest in the Sub-Saharan region in terms of diaspora remittances and fifth in the world, thus echoing the positive contribution of Nigerians in the diaspora to the Nigerian economy.
He said: “Figures released February 2018 by the British government indicate that no fewer than 5,405 Nigerian-trained doctors and nurses are currently working with the British National Health Service (NHS) in the United Kingdom UK.
“This means that Nigerian medics constitute 3.9 per cent of the 137,000 foreign staff of 202 nationalities working alongside British doctors and nurses.
“Nigerians in the diaspora sent home $22 billion in 2017, a 6.4% increase from the amount repatriated in 2016.
This makes Nigeria the highest in the Sub-Saharan region in terms of diaspora remittances and fifth in the world, thus echoing the positive contribution of Nigerians in the diaspora to the Nigerian economy”.
He advised the Federal Government to take healthcare seriously and make it a major priority in view of its critical importance to our lives.
Also speaking at the media conference, Adaobi Ezeokoli, who attributed the development to the nation’s poor health care facilities and remunerations, added that many doctors are breadwinners in their families but are unable to deliver family expectations hence the reason to their exodus.
She said that while most of them are willing to come back home, it won’t be easy for them to come back when the facilities are not in order.
She called on the leadership of the country to instill confidence and show willingness to improve healthcare services by signing necessary health acts and bills, increasing funding for the sector and ensuring that funds are properly managed.
“We need to improve the work environment in terms of financing. We need to be more drastic; re-organising the way we fund health service,” she added.
She also said that its conference coming up on Thursday, October 18, 2018 with the theme: Future of Health Conference is “The Diaspora as Nigeria’s Brain Gain” is designed with the aim to addressed some of the issues.
“The Future of Health Conference continues to be the leading platform for Nigeria’s health sector, setting an actionable road-map to move the sector forward.
It achieves this by converging participants: health advocates, policy makers and development partners in the health ecosystem to discuss topical issues facing the future of the sector.
“Tangible outcomes can be traced back to the three previous conferences. The momentum set by the first conference in 2015 put Universal Health Coverage front and centre of the conversation around affordable healthcare.
In 2016, the Health Meets Tech Conference focused on the interconnections between technology and healthcare, which led to the debut of the first ever ‘Health and Technology’ Hackathon which took place in Lagos in July 2017.
“The conference will further establish an enabling atmosphere for returnee health professionals to share experiences, opportunities and challenges of returning to Nigeria,” she stated.