While Nigerians are groaning over the dearth of medical doctors caused by the brain drain syndrome, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige has boasted that Nigeria is not in short supply of medical doctors urging those who still want to emigrate to do so.
Ngige had in an interview with Channels TV on Wednesday morning said that doctors who feel they want to relocate in search of greener pastures are free to do so as Nigeria already has enough medical personnel.
The Minister was responding to a question on brain drain and the deliberate recruitment of Nigerian doctors by foreign embassies in Nigeria to the detriment of the nation’s health sector.
According to the Minister, he is not in any way worried by the brain drain. His words; ““No, I am not worried about doctors leaving the country. We have surplus. If you have surplus, you export. It happened some years ago here. I was taught chemistry and biology by Indian teachers in my secondary school days.
“There are surplus in their country and we also have surplus in the medical profession in our country. I can tell you this. In my area, we have excess.
“Who said we don’t have enough doctors? We have more than enough. You can quote me. There is nothing wrong in them travelling out. When they go abroad, they earn money and send them back home here. Yes, we have foreign exchange earnings from them and not just oil.”
Asked if the brain drain was not hurting the health sector, Ngige replied; “Brain drain will only be inimical when, for instance, neurosurgeons travel and we don’t have neurosurgeons here.”