Home » Japa: Nigerian doctors abroad attracted to return – Health Minister, Pate

Japa: Nigerian doctors abroad attracted to return – Health Minister, Pate

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The Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Muhammad Ali Pate, has maintained that Nigerian doctors, nurses, and health workers, making waves overseas, are considering returning to the country.

He noted that the health personnel are determined to return, provided they are guaranteed good working conditions and enabling infrastructures.

Pate made this statement when he featured on Channels Television’s Sunday Politics yesterday.

“Some that have been successful are also beginning to think of how to come back if the enabling infrastructure is provided,” he said.

The health minister, however, claimed that there are many health workers who have, despite the flailing economic situation, resisted the temptations to travel abroad where they are guaranteed better working conditions.

“There are also thousands who are here that despite the opportunity to travel abroad, they are not travelling abroad, and we do appreciate them,” he stated.

He stated that some Nigerian health experts simply “go to get training abroad with the expectation that they will come back better skilled and contribute at home”.

Pate, while commenting on the massive exodus phenomenon also referred to as Japa, revealed that the government is making efforts to make the industry for health professionals to stay at home and practice.

Pate said the ‘Japa’ phenomenon is not limited to Nigeria as it is global.

“The lifeblood of the health sector is the human resource. That is the most important ingredient, not the hospitals, though they are very important complements,” he said.

“There are about 300,000 health professionals working in Nigeria today, of all cadres; doctors, nurses, midwives, pharmacists, laboratory scientists.”

Pate said though “there are about 55,000 licensed medical doctors in Nigeria”, they are not sufficient and not well-distributed across the country.

Can you believe that most doctors and high professionals are in Lagos, Abuja, and a few other urban centres? So, there is a huge distribution challenge.”

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