The immediate past Governor of Ondo State, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko, lamented the brain drain in the health sector, saying native doctors and herbalists will soon be treating Nigerians.
Mimiko, who emphasised that the situation is alarming, said if it continues, only native doctors may be available to provide healthcare services in five to ten years time in the country.
The former governor, who called the situation alarming, said that it is extremely concerning that medical professionals are trained at subsidised rates in Nigeria before leaving for industrialized nations.
He said; ” We are in an emergency. If we continue at this rate, in another five to ten years, only the “babalawos” (herbalists) will be available to take care of us. It is an emergency, and the government must see it as an emergency. The government must disincentive the rate at which our medical doctors and medical personnel are emigrating out of this country.”
Mimiko made this during the weekend at the first group of medical doctors’ induction ceremony at the University of Medical Sciences, UNIMED, located in Ondo Town.
The two-term governor explained that he established the institution during his administration to address the shortage of medical workers in the country.
He called on the government to recognise the gravity of the issue and take appropriate measures to reduce the rate of emigration of medical personnel.
Mimiko further suggested that the government should incentivize medical professionals to stay in the country and discourage other nations from poaching them.
He argued that it is crucial for the government to be accountable and take advantage of the opportunity to enhance the skills of medical professionals within the country.
“We cannot continue to hold this nation unaccountable. We can take advantage of the opportunity for our professionals to learn new skills. I don’t think any serious government can fold its arms while other countries decide to empty it of its human resources, especially in the health sector.
“There are WHO protocols for all of this, and I think the government should sit down with this government that is not investing in training their own people. We must sit down, and they have to pay something for taking our people away.
“If, for example, UNIMED has capacity for 50 doctors and they want to take 30 doctors, they should also provide the facility and mechanism to expand our capacity to train more doctors for them.
” We are a great country; we have an incredible young population who are ready. This country has the capacity to train two million to three million students, but those countries that stand at that end to benefit from this training must also do something to expand our capacity to train our people.
“The government must take it up at a very high diplomatic level. We cannot fold our arms and allow all our best human resources to live in this country. It is like a war situation. But I know one thing for sure: if the government does the necessary things, it can be a win-win situation for us as a nation.”
Mimiko lauded Governor Rotimi Akeredolu for resisting pressure to relocate UNIMED from Ondo town adding that the governor’s efforts at giving the first medical institution in the country the best manifested when he appointed Prof. Adesegun Fatusi, the current Vice Chancellor of the University, based on merit, even with the protest from some quarters.