Wife of Lagos State Governor, Dr Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu on Tuesday identified adequate remuneration packages for doctors and other professionals in the health sector, as well as provision of key infrastructure as necessary incentives to tackle brain drain in medical profession which is a major issue plaguing the country.
Dr Sanwo-Olu, who spoke at the opening ceremony of the Annual General Meeting and Scientific Conference of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), Lagos State Chapter, held at Radisson Blu Hotel, Ikeja, said it was important for all stakeholders to resolve to address the negative effects of brain drain in the medical profession, especially considering its implication on universal health coverage.
The Wife of the Governor, who is also a Medical Doctor, said concerted efforts must be put in place to encourage Nigerian doctors outside the country to return home and contribute to improve access to healthcare and national development.
She also reiterated that time had indeed come for all residents to embrace the Health Insurance Scheme recently launched by the State Government, saying the people stands to gain a lot by contributing to the fund and being our brothers’ keeper.
Speaking on ‘Brain Drain In Medical Profession: Effects On The Nigerian Health System’, Dr Sanwo-Olu said: “For me, the way to go is to put in place deliberate policies to address the factors encouraging our Doctors to take the next flight abroad in droves and these include adequate remuneration of Doctors, provision of health equipment and infrastructure, accommodation for our doctors and the allied forces in the health sector, as well as scaling up of the Health Insurance Scheme.
“Thankfully, the Lagos State Government has done a lot in this regard and I think it is appropriate at this point to urge Lagosians to fully embrace the recently unveiled Health Insurance Scheme of the State Government which is a strategic policy designed to achieve affordable, comprehensive and unhindered quality healthcare services for all residents.”
Dr Sanwo-Olu said aside working in the hospitals and complaining about the issues in the medical profession, more doctors should also go into politics to enable them to be part of the decision-making process in order to influence things positively.
“I am very happy that we have our doctors that have been in the system for a very long time now taking the positions of Permanent Secretaries. I am happy that we have people like Dr Babatunde Adejare in the House of Representatives and I am happy also to mention that we need to have more doctors going into politics because we need to position ourselves if we want to improve the health sector.
“We need to strategize and position ourselves and not just work work work as usual. We have to walk the walk, talk the talk, dance the dance and let the game begin. We need to play the game the way it is being played; we have emeritus in politics who are doctors that we can tap into their anointing. The point is that more doctors should go into politics to improve the health sector,” Dr Sanwo-Olu said.
She also urged the private sector to partner with government to properly run the Primary Healthcare Centres (PHCs) and as well adopt those that were not functional, saying such would go a long way to achieve universal coverage, being that the PHCs are the closest to the people.