In his move to address the brain drain in the country, the Lagos State lawmaker representing Oshodi/Isolo Federal Constituency II at the House of Representatives, Ganiyu Johnson, said he is planning to propose bills to stop nurses and pharmacists from seeking greener pastures.
Johnson said this during a programme on The Channels Television on Thursday.
Recall that on April 6, a bill seeking to compel medical and dental graduates to render five-year compulsory services within Nigeria before being granted full licence to practise passed the second reading.
The bill sponsored by Johnson titled, ‘A Bill for an Act to amend the Medical and Dental Practitioners Act, Cap. M379, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 to mandate any Nigeria-trained medical or dental practitioner to practise in Nigeria for a minimum of five years before being granted a full licence by the council to make quality health services available to Nigeria; and for related matters.’
Johnson said the move was to check the mass exodus of medical professionals from the country and solve the problem of brain drain among doctors.
He said “For me, I think we are in the right direction. The reason being that we cannot continue to watch Nigerians die. We have over 200 million people in this country facing very few doctors and with these few doctors, there’s always capital flight every year, so the reasonable thing to do, as much as I agree that we need to improve their welfare packages which through my motion, I canvassed for that, because there was a motion that I raised that we need to improve on their welfare packages.
“We need to upgrade and maintain some health facilities such as the primary health centres, we should upgrade some of them to general hospitals’ standard, then we should also maintain and upgrade some of our general hospitals to specialist hospitals, then we should also maintain and upgrade some of our specialist hospitals to research institutes, by doing that, we are creating jobs, openings for the doctors,” he said.
According to him, if urgent action is not taken, there may not be doctors to attend to the health needs of Nigerians.
“There is another bill coming up on nurses, and another one for pharmacists. I’m going to read that very soon. That is why I said this is just the first phase and it is a short-term measure, it is not a permanent solution.
“It is a stop-gap, short-term measure for us to take stock of what we have and whether it is going to solve the problem or not, it is a different thing, but by the time we are able to mitigate against this using this approach, I know with time, it is going to be a win-win for the doctors and the country as a whole,” he said.