The FG is planning to enlist the services of retired medical practitioners to address the issue of brain drain in the healthcare sector, as revealed by the Minister of Health.


Health Minister, Prof. Ali Pate, has officially confirmed the Federal Government’s provision for the re-engagement of retired medical practitioners in non-administrative roles on a contractual basis.

Speaking to journalists during a visit to the National Hospital in Abuja, the minister emphasized that this decision has become essential due to the human resource gap arising from the “brain drain” of clinical professionals in the health sector. He underlined the significance of human resources within the healthcare sector, asserting that it surpasses the importance of buildings and equipment alone.

Pate explained, “The recent circular essentially provided for medical practitioners who hold non-administrative positions, specifically those in clinical roles, to be re-engaged on a contractual basis under the same terms as before, in order to retain the skilled workforce that remains. This measure will significantly alleviate the strain on the existing healthcare workforce.”

He pointed to the dwindling numbers of anaesthesiologists at the National Hospital as an example, emphasizing the importance of retaining qualified professionals to deliver the necessary healthcare services to Nigerians. Pate stressed the government’s commitment to support healthcare workers, enhance their working conditions, and alleviate the stress levels they currently experience.

The minister acknowledged that healthcare professionals are leaving their posts for various reasons, such as going abroad or transferring between facilities due to work overload or other circumstances. To address this issue, Pate pledged to expedite the process of replacing departing clinical providers with similarly qualified professionals. This would help ease the burden on those who remain in service.

Furthermore, the government is also working on streamlining the internship process for postgraduate trainees, ensuring they have productive learning experiences to enhance their practice.

Pate highlighted the government’s determination to retain those willing to return to service, emphasizing the complexities associated with hiring non-health professionals to fill healthcare positions due to employment pressures. He assured that they are actively working towards resolving this delicate issue and improving the healthcare sector in Nigeria.

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