NMA solicits better welfare, working condition for doctors in Nasarawa

From Esther Akaa, Lafia 

The Nigeria Medical Association (NMA), Nasarawa State chapter has called on the state government to improve the welfare package and working condition of medical doctors to guard against brain drain.

The Voice reports that brain drain is the emigration of highly trained or qualified people from a particular country to other countries.

The Chairman of NMA in the state, Dr Peter Attah, made the call on Tuesday in Lafia, at a press conference to mark the 2022 Physicians Week.

According to him, the association was currently taking inventory of the total number of doctors that had left the state to other countries in the last two year, with a view of advising the government appropriately.

Attah explained that the Dalhatu Araf Specialist Hospital (DASH), Lafia and Hospital Management Board had replaced over 40 doctors that had resigned and left to other countries in search of greener pastures.

He called for an upward review of hazard allowance, call-duty allowance, reduce tax, as well as give doctors vehicles and housing loans as part of measures to curtail brain drain in the state.

“In July 2022, DASH alone replaced about 30 doctors, but when they resumed in about a month later, more than 10 doctors resigned and left.

“In the last quarter of 2020, state government, through the Hospital Management Board employed more than 30 doctors, but as I am talking to you now, more than 25 of the newly employed doctors have resigned and left.

“The same scenario of doctors leaving is still the case at the Federal Medical Centre, Keffi, the only federal health facility in the state,” the NMA chairman said.

Attah noted that the shortage of doctors was putting much pressure on the few ones who  have decided to stay, saying  some doctors now prefer to work in rural areas than urban centres due to the high cost of living in cities and towns.

He explained that the standard of the World Health Organisation (WHO) is that a doctor should attend to about 600 but the ratio in the state is one doctor to more than 20,000 people.

He said that at the moment, there are about 550 doctors working at Federal Medical Centre, Keffi and with the state government to serve more than 1 million people.

Attah, however, commended the state government for regular replacement, but advised that the government should improve the  welfare of doctors to curtail brain drain than to replace them.

The NMA chairman also used the opportunity to sympathise with communities affected by flood in the state and called on the government and other spirited individuals to partner the association, in order to offer free medical services to the affected communities.

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