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Overseas Nigerian Doctors are contemplating on whether to return.

Pate: Successful Nigerian Doctors Abroad Seek To Return

According to Prof. Muhammad Ali Pate, the Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, successful Nigerian doctors, nurses and health workers overseas are starting to consider returning to the country.

He said the health workers are willing to come back if the enabling infrastructure is provided for them to do their job.

Pate said this when he appeared on Channels Television’s Sunday Politics yesterday.

“Some that have been successful are also beginning to think of how to come back if the enabling infrastructure is provided,” he said.

The health minister said there are many health workers who chose to remain in Nigeria to serve the country despite the opportunity to move abroad where they are guaranteed better pay and welfare package.

“There are also thousands who are here that despite the opportunity to travel abroad, they are not travelling abroad and we do appreciate them,” he stated.

He said some Nigerian health professionals simply “go to get training abroad with the expectation that they will come back better skilled and contribute at home”.

Pate, who spoke on the migration phenomenon known as Japa, which has seen the exodus of thousands of young health workers in the last few years, said the government is doing all it can to make the industry conducive for health professionals to stay at home and practice.

Pate said the ‘Japa’ phenomenon is not limited to Nigeria as it is global.

“The lifeblood of the health sector is the human resource. That is the most important ingredient, not the hospitals, though they are very important complements,” he said.

“There are about 300,000 health professionals working in Nigeria today, of all cadres; doctors, nurses, midwives, pharmacists, laboratory scientists.”

Pate said though “there are about 55,000 licensed medical doctors in Nigeria”, they are not sufficient and not well-distributed across the country.

“Can you believe that most of the doctors and high professionals are in Lagos, Abuja and a few other urban centres? So, there is a huge distribution challenge.”