Nigeria Trained Doctors Must Sign Bond to Serve For 9 Years Before Relocating Abroad – FG
Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, has proposed that government trained medical doctors and other health workers such as nurses, pharmacists, physiotherapists , dentists, paramedics and medical lab scientists should not be allowed to leave the country at will especially if they have not given back to the country (in form of paid services) the free medical education the country has given them on a platter of gold. The minister posited that plans are underway to ensure government and country stop hemorrhaging financially from Nigerian doctors brain drain saying Nigeria cannot continue to train doctors for free only for other countries with no subsidy on medical education to come and “harvest”.
Ngige said this on Wednesday, November 10, while speaking at the 2022 Budget Defence of his Ministry at the House of Representatives.
Thousands of Nigerian medical practitioners every year, relocate to other countries like the UK, United States, Canada, Saudi Arabia, Australia etc, where they would offer their services for supposedly better remuneration and working conditions.
Speaking on the brain drain during the budget defence, Ngige said to check the alarming brain drain, medical workers trained by the government should be made to sign a -9- year bond that would ensure they do not leave the country at will after receiving training for free at public expense. “Government cannot continue to train medical doctors with hard earned tax payers’ money only to turn around and migrate out of the country to practice once they become qualified, no country will allow that.” He said.
“Medical education in Nigeria is almost free. Where else in the world is it free? The Presidential Committee on Health should come with a proposal for bonding doctors, nurses, medical laboratory scientists and other health workers, so that they don’t just carry their bags and walk out of their country at will when they were trained at no cost.
In London, it is 45,000 pounds a session for medical education in cheap universities. If you go to Edinburgh or Oxford, you pay 80,000 dollars. If you go to USA you pay 45,000 dollars but if you go to the Ivy leagues, you pay 90,000 dollars for only tuition, excluding lodging. You do it for six years. So, people in America take loans.
We can make provisions for loans and you pay back. If the government will train you for free, we should bond you. You serve the country for nine years before you go anywhere, medical education can no longer be free” he said.
Before now, stakeholders in the health sector have been clamouring for reforms in the sector in areas of medical infrastructures, improving welfare packages of all health workers and total deregulation of medical training or education.