The Japa Syndrome And Nigeria Medical Sector: Issues And Possible Solutions.
The health sector comprises of several professional fields such as the medicine,nursing and midwifery, pharmacy,medical laboratory etc.All of these departments collaborate to achieve the ultimate goal of PROMOTING AND MANAGING HEALTH. Several countries across the globe particularly underdeveloped countries suffer from unavailability of required professional human capital in the health sector and their citizens resort to patronizing non-professional or traditionalist exposing them to more health- related risks.
Nigeria is one of the countries with well trained professionals in her health sector but I doubt we will be able to say this in the next 10years. Lately the country has witnessed massive increase in the migration of Nigerian medical practitioners with over 8,000 nurses leaving the country within 10months in the year 2021. Doctors and pharmacists are also included and more interestingly, the health attendants and care assistants who are also not left out in this migration surge. These health workers found succor in European and Asian countries.
There have been many opinions on why medical practitioners have been quitting their jobs and existing the country. Some believe it’s due to poor work environment,others thinks it’s due to poor work environment, other think it’s due to low income despite the work load and stress and another set of people believe it’s just the choice or the greediness of these medics.
The thought that low income is a major contributing factor to this spike in migration rate and is valid. Health workers have been leaving the country for over three decades but not at the rate witnessed within the last one year. Gone are those days when people believe that doctors, lawyers,engineers and nurses are the highest paid in the whole country and the majority of the population encourages their families to go into these profession. In the opinion of the medics, the reality today is that doctors and nurses are currently among the low income earners in the country in the last decade and the normal human reaction is to find better offers in places where they are appreciated. An average Nigerian nurse earns about 1.8 million naira yearly here in Nigeria while an average Nigerian nurse working in the United Kingdom earns about 22 million naira per annum. If I was a nurse, I would migrate too.
Another topic issue to consider in the Nigerian health sector medical amenities are not available and perhaps scarce across medical facilities at every facility you visit,minimal hands available causing an increase work load. In a saner clime these minor things are readily available making work easier for their workers. This is a predisposing factor to mass migration.
The opinion that medics travel out of greed is unsubstantiated. The reality of the country is enough to force a medical practitioners out of job and out of the country. Many of those behind thought neither stand nor handle the experience of Nigeria medical practitioners. The responsibility of arresting the situation and preventing further migration ultimately in the interest of upholding the Nigerian health sector lies with the government. The immediate solution to the subject matter is addressing the causative issues and factors. Government should as a matter of urgency declare a state of emergency in the health sector: deploy realistic strategies to create an enabling work environment across medical facilities in the country and review upward the income of medical practitioners. The up and coming medics will be motivated to serve their fathers land while those leaving will think twice in the event of the implementation of the above recommendations