Mr. Ehanire says that 3,000 doctors graduate every year in the country and about 1,000 of them leave the country every year.
The Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) is concerned about the high rate at which doctors migrate from Nigeria to countries like the UK every year due to brain drain.
Forum Chairman and Sokoto State Governor Aminu Tambuwal revealed this during a courtesy call on Health Minister Osagie Ehanire.
Mr. Tambuwal also urged the Federal Government to expedite the achievement of the 25% needed to ensure universal health care coverage for all Nigerians under the Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF).
This was in a statement sent to reporters by his special adviser on media and publicity, Mohammed Bello.
Many organizations have raised concerns about the brain drain as Nigeria suffers from a shortage of doctors and has a doctor-to-patient ratio – more than five times lower than the WHO recommendation.
Some Nigerian officials have said that at least 5,600 Nigerian doctors have migrated to the UK over the past eight years. And data from the Development Research and Project Center (dRPC) showed that between 2019 and mid-2022, at least 4,460 nurses migrated from Nigeria to the UK.
Governors, Mr. Tambuwal said, want to build a resilient healthcare platform committed to routine immunization and total polio eradication, in collaboration with global and local partners, their efforts will be wasted if the trend alarming continues unchecked.
“There are challenges but a lot has been done, particularly in the effort to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic“, he told the minister. “But we are seeing a brain drain over the years. It is alarming. And, I believe it has something to do with the well-being of medical personnel. I urge the federal government to do something urgently about this.”
While commending the Federal Government for the initiative to establish the BHCPF, the Governor said it was important that the momentum for the realization of the fund not be slowed.
He also assured the Minister of transparency and accountability in the management of the fund by the States and that the disbursement by the Forum will be based on the performance of the beneficiary States.
For his part, Mr Ehanire said the government was also concerned about the issue of brain drain. He said that 3,000 doctors graduate every year in the country and about 1,000 of them leave the country every year.
He said that while the federal government tries to create more space to employ these personnel despite demands for higher compensation, those who are less likely to stay in the country, and for whom the incentive to do so is abysmal, are experienced consultants.
“They are the ones we are most worried about because it takes a lot of money to train them and it is difficult to meet their expectations.”
He urged state governors to devote resources to training doctors, who are then employed by him.