The Federal Government (FG) is set to increase the enrollment of medical doctors and nurses in the upcoming academic year in order to combat the issue of medical brain drain.
To address the negative impact of the brain drain phenomenon on the healthcare sector, the Minister of Health for the State has announced plans to increase the enrollment of medical doctors and nurses in the upcoming academic year. The Minister expressed his concern over the rising instances of substance abuse and reiterated the commitment of President Bola Tinubu to combat drug abuse and strengthen mental health services throughout the country.
Dr. Tunji Alausa emphasized the global crisis of human resources for health and conveyed the government’s determination to improve the healthcare infrastructure and enhance the quality of services. He referred to ongoing efforts to rectify the country’s healthcare system as soon as possible.
We are working tirelessly to rectify the situation, and we expect to see substantial improvements in the country’s healthcare landscape over the next 12 to 24 months. I have already engaged with the Registrar of the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria, and we plan to double the enrollment of doctors, increasing it from 5,000 to 10,000 in the upcoming academic year. Additionally, I have held discussions with the Registrar of the Nursing and Midwifery Council, and we intend to substantially raise our annual nurse production to 50,000 and 80,000 within the next 12 to 24 months.
Dr. Alausa emphasized the role of substance abuse as a significant contributing factor to mental illness in Nigeria and acknowledged the challenge of providing treatment and rehabilitation services for those struggling with substance abuse. He assured that the government would actively seek solutions to the issues, except for the provision of funds for indigent patients, and maintained that the Federal Hospital’s primary mandate was to provide healthcare for indigent citizens. The medical director of the Federal Neuropsychiatric Hospital, Dr. Olugbenga Owoeye, highlighted a series of challenges facing the institution, including the delay in receiving final approval for a waiver to recruit clinical staff, resulting in a shortage of health professionals and impacting the quality of patient care.
Dr. Owoeye stressed the urgent need for the renovation of the hospital’s outdated infrastructure, due to the persistent shortage of funds for overhead expenses. The hospital is currently grappling with a monthly electricity bill of over N10 million, excluding additional costs for diesel and generator maintenance.
Moreover, Dr. Owoeye drew attention to the growing number of patients suffering from substance use disorders and underscored the inadequacy of the existing 60-bed capacity drug wards. He urged the federal government to construct a new 100-bed capacity drug unit with rehabilitation facilities to address this issue.