By Suoyo Ekubo
The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) has said that with the trend of medical doctors leaving the country for greener pastures abroad, there may be a need to hire doctors from foreign countries in the future.
The NMA also stated that if urgent steps are not taken to fix the deteriorating situation, there will be a total collapse of the health system in the country.
The Oyo State NMA Chairman, Dr. Ayotunde Fasunla, raised the alarm in Ibadan on Tuesday August 16, at the official opening of the 2022 scientific conference, titled: ‘National Health Authority Act – The Sound Bites’.
The body also called for a state of emergency in the health sector as Nigerian doctors continue to migrate massively to Europe, America, Middle East and other African countries.
He noted that the 2022 budgetary allocation to the health sector is approximately 4.2 per cent of the national budget which was significantly below the recommendation of the African Union (AU) at the Abuja Declaration of a minimum of 15 per cent.
He said: “The infrastructure deficit is such that some of our hospitals spend a significant amount of their internally generated revenues on diesel to ensure power supply.
“There is scarcity of funds to apply for equipment upgrade, manpower development or even recruitment of new staff.
“Many of our hospitals are grossly under-staffed. Even the process of replacing migrating staff is bogged down by a rigid and insensitive government bureaucracy.
“It is our plea to the government to commit more funds to the health sector so that the system does not collapse or Nigeria may begin to import medical doctors.
“Only healthy people can have the will and strength to contribute to the growth and development of a nation’s
“Therefore, I call on well-meaning Nigerians, philanthropists, and non-governmental organisations to join hands with the government to improve the conditions of the health system in the nation, especially Oyo state. It is obvious that the government cannot handle it alone.”
Also present at the event was Oyo State Commissioner for Health, Dr.Taiwo Ladipo, who represented Gov. Seyi Makinde.