Nigerian Doctors Are Moving to Sierra Leone, Gambia To Earn $4,000 Wages As Health Sector Faces Workforce Challenges – Prof. Bassey.
The Chairman of the Committee of Chief Medical Directors of Federal Tertiary Hospitals, Prof. Emem Bassey, has highlighted the migration of Nigerian doctors to countries such as Sierra Leone and Gambia, where they are enticed by significantly higher salaries ranging from $3,000 to $4,000. This wage offer is approximately four times the earnings that doctors receive within Nigeria.
Professor Bassey, who also serves as the CMD of the University of Uyo Teaching Hospital, emphasized that the health sector is currently grappling with a severe shortage of qualified personnel, leading health professionals to explore opportunities in nations with more lucrative compensation packages. He pointed out that the departure of medical experts is further fueled by periodic strikes triggered by the government’s inability to meet their demands.
This issue was brought to light during his appearance before the House of Representatives Ad hoc Committee, which is investigating employment irregularities within federal government agencies. In collaboration with other heads of health institutions, Bassey shed light on the challenges faced by the health sector.
Prof. Bassey noted, “Our neighboring African countries are actively recruiting from Nigeria. Countries along the West Coast are particularly seeking out our specialists. Many professionals are now venturing to places like Sierra Leone and Gambia, where they can earn wages ranging from $3,000 to $4,000. This represents a considerable increase compared to their earnings back home. Consequently, we are observing a notable trend of healthcare professionals relocating to other African nations.”
He further expressed concern about the significant outflow of medical experts, encompassing not only doctors but also nurses, laboratory scientists, physiotherapists, radiographers, and various other health professionals. This departure, he added, poses a substantial challenge in terms of replacing these skilled workers. While recruitment approvals are sometimes granted, navigating the bureaucratic process to secure waivers for hiring becomes a formidable obstacle.
Due to the urgency of filling the void left by departing health professionals, adhering to the principles of federal character in recruitment becomes intricate. Previous governments have entered agreements hastily to quell strike actions, but the feasibility of implementing these agreements has often been compromised.
“A strike should always be the last resort. However, what we have observed is a cycle of threats and unfulfilled resolutions. Past governments have negotiated agreements that prove untenable simply to end strikes. This has resulted in agreements that remain unimplemented, leading to strikes after a certain period. What we need is a collaborative negotiation process,” Prof. Bassey explained.
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The Chairman of the Ad hoc Committee, Hon. Yusuf Gagdi, appealed to doctors to consider their patriotism by choosing to remain in Nigeria and contribute to the nation’s development, even in the face of more attractive opportunities abroad. He pledged that the committee would strive to strike a balance between complying with the spirit of federal character and urgently addressing vacancies within the health sector.
Hon. Gagdi acknowledged the inadequacy of advanced medical facilities in the country’s health sector and urged doctors to exhibit loyalty to their homeland. While acknowledging the brain drain phenomenon, he emphasized the importance of medical professionals contributing to their own nation, which nurtured their expertise.
He stated, “You, as medical doctors, are products of Nigerian institutions. We recognize the brain drain issue and are actively seeking solutions. Your presence here is appreciated. Many of you possess the capacity to contribute to developed countries due to your intellect. However, there is immense value in contributing to your own motherland and fatherland.”
Hon. Gagdi concluded by affirming the committee’s commitment to reviewing the submissions made by the medical institutions and addressing recruitment cases and concerns. He assured the doctors that the recommendations presented to the government would be diligently considered and acted upon for the greater good of all.
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Nigerian Doctors Are Moving to Sierra Leone, Gambia To Earn $4,000 Wages.
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