JAPA: 2800 Resident Doctors Left The Country In Two Years – NARD

Dr. Innocent Orji, National President of the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors, NARD, has stated that Nigeria has lost around 2800 resident doctors in the last two years.

He stated that the figure excludes consultants and other doctors.

Speaking at the end of a three-day National Executive Council (NEC) meeting in Uyo on Saturday with the theme: “Improved Welfare of Healthcare Workers: A Panacea for Brain Drain (Political and Doctors’ Perspectives),” the President revealed that according to a study conducted by the organization in September 2022, 800 resident doctors travelled out of the country from January to August.

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According to him, the implication is that 100 resident doctors leave Nigeria each month.

Orji stated that the departure of doctors to foreign nations has continued to burden healthcare delivery and service delivery in Nigeria, as one doctor is required to care for over 10,000 patients without a corresponding welfare package.

The President condemned the poor working conditions and wellbeing of Nigerian health workers and urged for proper remuneration as well as infrastructure development in hospitals across the country to combat brain drain.

He also advocated for a 15% yearly budgetary allocation for healthcare, in accordance with the 2001 Abuja Declaration on Healthcare Financing in Africa and global best practices.

While calling for a study of bureaucratic obstacles in the hiring of doctors for easier employment, the President encouraged the federal government to address the reasons doctors are leaving the nation.

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According to him, “We did a study in September last year and we came up with facts that in a two year period, we lost 2000 resident doctors. From January to August of 2022, we lost 800 doctors that is to say we lose 100 doctors every month. I always say, as politicians are playing politics they should also pay attention to governance because it will come to a time when they will finish elections in February and March, and come back to find out that there are no doctors again.

“Even though we have a massive shortage of doctors, the truth is that we still have doctors in the street looking for employment but bureaucracy in the system is a major problem. We know that bureaucracy in government is to follow due process and so on but there should be a point to review whatever that is on ground to see whether it is working or not, there must be a mechanism for replacing clinical staff, who are leaving the hospital.

“Even if you do that, it is not going to solve the problem but will help to reduce it because people who are leaving are highly skilled doctors, even if you employ new people, before they would attain to that level of competence and training, it will take time, so the best thing is to address the reason doctors are emigrating.

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“The reason doctors are leaving is not only for remuneration, they need housing schemes, car loan schemes and other things that even the government does not necessarily need to spend its money on, what it needs to do is just to midwife the process and get in private investors who would fund that.

“Another reason doctors are leaving is because of poor infrastructure. It is very disheartening that as a doctor, you know what to do to save the life of your patient and you end up losing the patient because of lack of infrastructure. If it happens overtime, you run into depression, this is not a joke, and the next thing you have to do is to move away and go to a better system. If the government wants to address this, there is no shortcut to it, it can address it.”

Orji also stated that in their resolution, the NEC urged the National Assembly to pass laws protecting healthcare workers, and that the Chief Medical Directors of tertiary hospitals should take responsibility for security in their respective hospitals, as NARD would no longer stand by and watch her members being assaulted by staff, patients’ relatives, or security operatives.

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He also urged the federal government, the Nigerian Governors’ Forum, and other stakeholders to press the governors of Abia, Ondo, and Ekiti to pay the arrears of salary and allowances owing to its members, which he said had reached 25 months in Abia State.


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