- The Nigerian government says that unless something drastic is done, it "would be unrealistic" to reach national goals of an improved health sector. It noted that as at 2003, 10,000 of Nigeria's 35,000 registered medical doctors had migrated while 20 percent of the 10,364 total registered pharmacists within the same period had migrated abroad or went to other professions.
The Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria according to the Minster of State for Health, Halima Alao, submitted records which showed that by 30 June 2003, it had 210,306 nurses and midwives on its register, out of which 3,980 migrated abroad in 2001 and another 6000 in 2002.
Mrs Alao, who was speaking while addressing an inter-ministerial media briefing for 2006 World Health Day celebration yesterday in Abuja, listed other constraints facing the health sector as de-motivated staff, non-availability of basic essential obstetric care, refusal of rural postings by doctors and other health workers, weak state-level HIV/AIDS response and activities as well as inadequate availability of qualitative health care services.
The Minister identified lack of motivation, improper placement, inadequate training, inefficient utilisation, poor remuneration and dilapidated medical equipment and infrastructure as major push factors responsible for the migration of Nigerian health professionals.
Mrs Alao said the problem was of international significance, with developing countries being the main victims. She disclosed that it was in realisation of this that the Commonwealth Code of Practice for International Recruitment of Health Workers was articulated and announced that the Nigerian government was making efforts to put in place a framework of responsibilities for the implementation of the Commonwealth Code of Practice in the country.
World Health Day Celebration, she hoped, would quicken Nigeria's government programmes and activities towards surmounting health manpower deficiencies and challenges threatening the health sector adding that the health problems had assumed dimensions that required all hands to be on deck.
She challenged all individuals and professional bodies to strive to move the health care system forward to the benefit of Nigerians emphasizing that enormous sacrifices and commitment from all stake holders were imperative in changing the health situation of the nation.
This year's World Health Day celebration in Nigeria would commence on Thursday, 6 April, with a National symposium on Health Resources for Health; The Way Forward at Abuja's Sheraton hotel with drama presentations, goodwill messages from Development Partners, Launching of the 2006 World Health Report. Mrs Alao stated that there would be simultaneous activities in all the 36 states of the Nigerian federation.
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