The immediate past Governor of Ondo State, Dr Olusegun Mimiko, has called on the government to urgently address the brain drain among doctors in Nigeria or face the consequences in a couple of years’ time.
The former governor, who expressed worry over the rate at which doctors are leaving the country for foreign countries in search of greener pastures, said the development calls for urgent attention from the government.
According to him, if doctors emigrating from the country is droves is not address, in less than a decade Nigeria may only have native doctors to turn to for treatment.
Mimiko spoke at the induction ceremony of the Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery for medical students of the University of Medical Sciences, Ondo, on Friday.
According to him, a situation where doctors and other health workers were trained at a subsidised rate in Nigeria and later abandoned the country for developed countries calls for huge concern.
He said, “We are in an emergency. If we continue at this rate, in another five to 10 years, only the “babalawos” (herbalists) will be available to take care of us. It is an emergency, and the government must see it as an emergency. The government must disincentivise the rate at which our medical doctors and medical personnel are emigrating from this country.
“We cannot continue to hold this nation unaccountable. We can take advantage of the opportunity for our professionals to learn new skills. I don’t think any serious government can fold its arms while other countries decide to empty it of its human resources, especially in the health sector.
“We are a great country; we have an incredible young population that are ready. This country has the capacity to train two million to three million students, but those countries that stand at that end to benefit from this training must also do something to expand our capacity to train our people.
“The government must take it up at a very high diplomatic level. We cannot fold our arms and allow all our best human resources to live in this country. It is like a war situation. But I know one thing for sure: if the government does the necessary things, it can be a win-win situation for us as a nation.”
He explained that the institution was established during his administration in order to help fill the dearth of medical workers in the country, but lamented that other countries had been poaching those who had been trained and giving nothing back to the country in return.
Mimiko lauded his successor, Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu, for resisting pressure to relocate UNIMED from Ondo town and for his efforts at giving the institution the best which manifested when he appointed Prof. Adesegun Fatusi who is the current Vice Chancellor of the university, based on merit.