Medical consultants in Nigeria have proffered a lasting solution to the pandemic problem of the brain drain of health professionals currently hitting the most populous country in Africa.
The Chairman of the Medical and Dental Consultants’ Association of Nigeria (MDCAN), Federal Medical Centre, Ebute Metta Chapter, Lagos, Dr. Emeka Ibezi, speaking on behalf of the group, called for conducive work environment, improved remuneration and personnel welfare.
Dr. Emeka Ibezi, made the call on Friday during the first meeting of the association with the theme: ”Thriving as a Professional in the Current Environment”.
He said that addressing the issues were parts of measures needed to check brain drain of medical practitioners in the country.
Dr. Obezi said a lot of doctors, health workers and consultants leave the country on a daily basis, which is not a good development.
”The truth is that it is a global phenomenon, but we have the issue on increase in this clan right now.
”Between December 2021 and May 2022, we have about 727 doctors that are registered from Nigeria, in UK, just UK alone, about 727 doctors are officially registered in their system.
”Now that is not telling you the number of doctors that left Nigeria within that period to UK alone. But just telling the number that are registered, of course, we should have more people,” he said.
Ibezi, an Oral/Maxillofacial Surgeon, therefore, urged the concerned authorities to ensure that the relevant resources such as stable power supply and modern equipment required for delivery of quality healthcare were in place.
He also called on the government to look into the remuneration of professionals, even the hazard allowance, as these were factors causing many medical experts to migrate from the country.
The chairman said that the meeting was convened for consultants at FMC, Ebute Metta, to discuss on ways to cope with the current environment in the country, to enable them to keep delivering services in tandem with global practices.
In a remark, the Medical Director, FMC, Ebute Metta, Dr Adedamola Dada, said that the practice of medicine was evolving from the previous mantra where the doctor, especially the consultant was all-knowing and could not be challenged.
Dada urged the medical practitioners to be abreast, so as to meet the need of today’s patients.
He said that it was also important that medical professionals show empathy, understanding, knowledge, confidence and sensitivity to the peculiar need of the patients at all time.
”We must train ourselves to understand, accept and practice this new shift in our daily relationship with our patients.
”As consultants, we should lead this process because it may be the way for the practice of our profession in this particular generation.
”Every generation will define itself. If we fail to conform with the requirements of the time and remain stuck in the gone-by times, and fail to develop these new skills of practice, I am afraid it will be very difficult, if not impossible to practice medicine or indeed any other profession,” Dada said.
A consultant psychiatrist and therapist, Dr Kafayah Ogunsola, who delivered a lecture on how to manage one’s mental health in uncertainties urged medical experts to prioritise their mental well being.
Ogunsola said that life itself was filled with lots of stressors such as ill health, life events that one did not see coming, loss of a loved one, loss of job, financial troubles, economic problems and other challenges in Nigeria.
”Whilst all of this is going on, one has to pay attention to self care such as affirming yourself the ability to breathe, understanding what are the things within your control, focusing on the things that are within your control and finding healthy distractions like knitting, drawing, painting as well as the ability to delegate.
”It is about prioritising yourself. It’s about preserving yourself rather than sacrificing yourself, the ability to say no, sometimes learn to say no, don’t always be the ”yes man” that everybody leaves all the responsibilities to and then you are beginning to cave on that pressure,” she said.