Minister of Labour and Productivity, Chris Ngige, has expressed his nonchalance about Nigerian doctors leaving the country to travel abroad.
Ngige during Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily noted that there are excess doctors in the country and whoever wants to leave is free to do so.
When asked to speak on brain drain and if the deliberate recruitment of Nigerian doctors by foreign embassies is detrimental to the nation’s health sector he said: “No, I am not worried about doctors leaving the country, we have a surplus.”
“If you have a surplus, you export, it happened some years ago here when I was taught chemistry and biology by Indian teachers in my secondary school days.”
“Who said we don’t have enough doctors? We have more than enough. You can quote me. There is nothing wrong in them travelling out. When they go abroad, they earn money and send them back home here. Yes, we have foreign exchange earnings from them and not just oil.”
Asked if he was sure of what he said, the minister said it is good for doctors to travel out as they would receive training from abroad and open up centres in Nigeria.
“I know a couple of them who practise abroad but set up medical centres back home. They have a CAT scan, MRI scan which even the government cannot maintain. So, I don’t see any loss.”
When asked if brain drain was not hurting the health sector, he said: “Brain drain will only be inimical when, for instance, neurosurgeons travel and we don’t have neurosurgeons here.”