CURBING THE EXODUS OF MEDICS FROM NIGERIA- a must for survival of our Nation's health sector.

 Exodus of healthcare workers is real. 

Our health indices are affected as a nation and state. Paucity of Doctors and Nurses in our rural and semi-urban areas will jeopardize care to our masses, our parents at village and our children.

Some suggested solutions (not exhaustive) include

1. Pay the Medical Doctors and other Health workers well using the current standard payment platforms- CONMESS, CONTISS. Avoid delays in salary payment. Offset arreas of salaries. In situations where fund is a problem, one month forward and one month of arreas can be adopted. If commitment on the part of Government on this can be secured, this will assist.

2. Increase the hazard allowances to 50% of basic salary.  

3. Good rural allowances- 50% of basic salary plus  accommodation in the hospital with security. If there is no incentive, the Doctor will keep coming from town to the rural area, work for 3-4hrs and start heading home; with no attachment to the work place. 

4. Prioritize security of the hospital, the community, the state and nation at large.

5. Equip the hospitals for services and put security measures to protect the equipment. Also the handlers of such equipment should be skilled. Power supply, Laboratory equipment, surgical theatre, child care equipment.

6. Bring in Private firms and individuals to engage in Partnership with Govt in running hospitals especially the General Hospitals. Government should actually reduce it's management of General Hospitals. Government can provide insurance package for citizens health and enshrine regulatory policies; but not to manage some hospitals. 

7. Get private firms to do the work of monitoring. Monitor staff attendance, monitor finances, performance, employment, salary payment, leaves.

8. Remove politics in choosing managers in health sector. Just like security issues and education, health should be apolitical.  Selecting seasoned personal as Commissioners of health,  Medical Directors, Head of Nursing, Head of Laboratory, Executive Secretaries etc. We should have leaders that understand health indices, health economics, dynamics and players in healthcare industry, donor agencies and their modus operandi, epidemics of disease, approach to disease outbreaks and disease survillance. We need leaders that can speak convincingly, defend budgets, talk with convictions and call for attention. Leaders that can galvanize community support, government assistance and NGOs contributions to yield positive results.

9. Effective health legislations and anti quackery laws with visible and public punishment of offenders.

10. Commitment to training of health workers. Funding of residency training is valuable, training of Medical officers, nurses, lab scientist etc. Customer care trainings, trainings on new equipment and concepts. Each hospital in developing country can be mentored by a hospital in developed world in a signed agreement geared towards improving the capacity of the developing nations to deliver health care. 

11. Let's have trust and patronize our Health System. Our Political class and elites should patronize our Govt owned institutions. This helps a lot.

12. The healthcare workers must re-orientate their minds to work for the state and community. The mindset should be humanitarian service in as much as our welfare will need to be taken care of. 

Dr Chimezie Godswill Okwuonu

Consultant Physician/Nephrologist

Chairman, NMA Abia State

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