The House of Representatives Committee on Health on Tuesday raised concerns over the relocation of Nigerian doctors and nurses abroad which has caused a decline in the country’s health manpower.
The committee disclosed that due to such rush abroad, the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) for instance has five wards comprising 150 beds which have been shut down over shortage of personnel.
LUTH is Nigeria’s premier health training institution.
The Chairman of the committee, Dr Amos Magaji, described the situation as worrisome saying the legislative arm is working toward nipping the increasing rate of Nigerians going abroad for medical tourism in the bud.
He said the Nigeria health workers migration overseas has taken a huge toll on the country’s heath system affirming that “the “japa” syndrome will be curtailed by building state-of-the-art infrastructure and making the sector attractive and rewarding to workers irrespective of their fields.”
Speaking during an oversight visit to LUTH, Idi-Araba, the health committee chairman reiterated that “Nigeria as a nation has found itself in a precarious moment, especially in the healthcare system where “japa” has taken centre stage. We used to have “japa” only for nurses, and doctors, but now it has even gone to many departments in the health sector.
“We saw significant problems here. Right now, there are about five wards in LUTH, totalling about 150 beds that have been shut down because there are no nurses and doctors to work in those wards. And these are a result of the ‘japa’ syndrome we are having.
“As a committee, we will work together with the Federal Government and also with the teaching hospital to find a way out of these national embarrassments that have befallen this country.
“It’s not something that can be fixed in one day, but nevertheless, we are going to be approaching it piecemeal. We are going to do what we can do immediately and what we can do long-term approach to it.
“So, by the grace of God, some of the issues of the ‘japa’, we are actually looking at how to solve this problem, starting even from the enrollment in universities, and then how house officers are employed, and then of course, the residency programme.”
“They have sacrificed so much for Nigerians to be healthy, for us to get proper health care. Our hands are on deck, and then that was the reason why if you were here earlier, you discovered that some of the key questions and some of the key things we attended here were things that have to do with delivering affordable and accessible health care to Nigerians.”
Meanwhile, Chief Medical Director of LUTH, Professor Wasiu Adeyemo told the lawmakers that the cancer centre of the university teaching hospital has treated over 9,600 patients since it was commissioned by former President Muhammadu Buhari in 2019.
Professor Adeyemo added that citizens of other countries in Europe, Africa and America now visit the centre for treatment and urged Nigerians to patronise the facility just as he commended the federal government and the House of Rep for the supports LUTH enjoys in providing quality healthcare for Nigerians.