Dr Olusegun Mimiko, the former Governor of Ondo State, has emphasized the need for the government to urgently tackle the problem of doctors leaving Nigeria, or else face dire consequences in the near future.
Expressing concern about the increasing rate at which doctors are migrating to foreign countries in search of better opportunities, Mimiko stressed the urgent attention required from the government. He warned that if the mass exodus of doctors is not addressed, Nigeria may find itself with a severe shortage of healthcare professionals within a decade, relying solely on native doctors for medical treatment.
Mimiko delivered this message during the induction ceremony for medical students studying Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery at the University of Medical Sciences, Ondo, on Friday.
He highlighted the disconcerting situation where doctors and other healthcare workers receive subsidized education in Nigeria but eventually abandon the country to pursue careers in developed nations, emphasizing the need for substantial concern.
He said, “We are in an emergency. If we continue at this rate, in another five to 10 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 disincentivise the rate at which our medical doctors and medical personnel are emigrating from this 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.
“We are a great country; we have an incredible young population that is 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.”
He clarified that the establishment of the institution took place during his tenure as governor to address the shortage of healthcare professionals in Nigeria. However, he expressed regret over the situation where other countries are enticing and recruiting the trained professionals without offering any benefits in return to the country.
Mimiko commended his successor, Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu, for resisting the pressure to relocate the University of Medical Sciences (UNIMED) from Ondo town. He also praised Akeredolu’s efforts in providing the institution with optimal support, which became evident through the appointment of Prof. Adesegun Fatusi as the current Vice Chancellor of the university, based on merit.2 / 2