The House of Representatives Committee on Health Institutions on Tuesday vowed to reduce the outflow of Nigerians seeking medical care abroad and doctors travelling outside the country to seek greener pastures.
This was as the Medical Director of the Federal Medical Centre, Jabi, Abuja, Prof Sa’ad Ahmed, disclosed that about 51 healthcare workers have left the hospital since the beginning of 2023 when the committee visited the hospital for an oversight function to assess the level of healthcare delivery in the facility on Tuesday.
Speaking during the visit, the Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Health Institutions, Amos Magaji, noted that the committee will also focus on improving the budgetary allocation for the health sector.
Magaji said the committee is working towards ensuring that the hospital gets another land allocation to expand its health services.https://live.primis-amp.tech/content/video/amp/videoIframe.php?s=113240#amp=1
Magaji noted, “On the issue of budget for health, everyone knows that the entire budget for this country is not there, and the budget for health is something to look into. We are doing everything to ensure that if the nation prospers, the budget for the nation will improve. We have dilapidated infrastructure everywhere; if you go to the education and power sectors, they are also complaining.
“That is why we are on this oversight function so that we look at what we have before the budget is presented, and we can see areas of need where you truly need intervention. This hospital is dear to us, we need to pay more attention to health because health is wealth.
“Until you are sick, you will not know the value of health, and no matter how much you have, there are certain emergencies that, if you do not have hospitals to respond to you, you would have died before reaching the Mediterranean Sea, and we need to have our system working.
“One of the key areas this committee is really looking into is the reversal of medical tourism. We are not saying it should be stopped, but it should be reversed. We want to see that people are coming from Niger Republic, Ghana, and Egypt to access healthcare here.
“We are going to see that medical tourism is reduced, and it cannot reduce until we deal with the issues of manpower, equipment, infrastructure, and we will see that these are achieved especially in the Federal Capital Territory.”
He also pledged that there would be intervention in the health sector to ensure affordable, accessible, and quality healthcare in the country.
Meanwhile, Ahmed lamented that every department in the hospital is affected by brain drain.
“Currently, we are facing a manpower shortage in the Ear, Nose and Throat department. We equally have challenges in the department of neurology as we only have one consultant there, we run clinics once a week there.
“We also have the challenge in the cardiology department, and more people are coming for those services. In physiotherapy, about four or five people have left. Every department is affected.
“This year alone, about 51 staff have left the facility. It is biting, and it will continue to bite. We can talk about one-for-one replacement, but sometimes you cannot get that level of experience of the person that is leaving,” he said.
The don, however, urged the committee to look at the report of the health reform committee on improving the health sector