The House of Representatives Committee on Health has expressed concern over the mass exodus of Nigerian doctors and nurses to foreign countries, which has resulted in a decline in the country’s health manpower.
The committee revealed that the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Nigeria’s premier health training institution, has been forced to shut down five wards comprising 150 beds due to shortage of personnel.
The committee chairman, Dr Amos Magaji, described the situation as worrisome and said the legislature is working to curb the increasing rate of Nigerians seeking medical tourism abroad.
He said the Nigeria health workers migration overseas has taken a huge toll on the country’s health system and affirmed that the “japa” syndrome, which means to run away, will be curtailed by building state-of-the-art infrastructure and making the sector attractive and rewarding to workers irrespective of their fields.
He made these remarks during an oversight visit to LUTH, Idi-Araba, on Tuesday.
He 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.”
He said that the committee will work together with the Federal Government and the teaching hospital to find a way out of the national embarrassments that have befallen the country.
He said that the solution will require a short-term and a long-term approach, starting from the enrollment in universities, the employment of house officers, and the residency programme.
He also commended the health workers for their sacrifice and dedication to providing affordable and accessible health care to Nigerians. He said that the committee’s hands are on deck to address the challenges facing the health sector.
Meanwhile, the 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.
He said that the centre has become a destination for patients from other countries in Europe, Africa and America. He urged Nigerians to patronise the facility and praised the federal government and the House of Reps for their support to LUTH in providing quality health care for Nigerians.