…Laments losing 906 members to human capital flight
By Chioma Onuegbu, Uyo
The Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists of Nigeria, AMLSN, has frowned at the thriving tendencies of medical tourism by Nigerians especially the political class over the decades.
AMLSN in a communique’ issued at the end of its 206th National Executive Council (NEC), Meeting weekend in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State capital, noted that Nigeria would become a tourism destination if the country invest the
huge amount of money spent on medical tourism in its health sector.
According to the communique’ which was signed by the National President, Prof. James Damen, National Secretary, Prof. Musa Muhibi, and National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Olusoji Billyrose, the association observed that the issue of brain drain in the country’s health sector has escalated to an alarming proportion.
It identified the reasons for the human capital flight to include poor leadership of the health sector, corruption, poor welfare package/renumeration and toxic work environment, and reiterated call on government to urgently look into the concerns in order to remedy the unfortunate situation.
The communique’ reads in part “: “For the umpteenth time, NEC frowns at thriving tendencies of medical tourism by Nigerians, especially the political class. It has been estimated that Nigeria spends about N664bn yearly on medical tourism.
“This is indeed a huge loss of foreign exchange and a drain on the country’s foreign reserve.
“These amounts, when invested in the Nigeria health sector, will not only make it competitive with world hospitals, but will make Nigeria a health tourism destination since the so-called world-class hospitals in developed countries are manned by Nigerian health professionals.
“Consequently, we call on the Federal Government through the Central Bank of Nigeria and the Bank of Industry, to provide financial support through special intervention funds for private sector investment for healthcare delivery, and especially building of mega and High-tech medical laboratories that can be globally competitive both in technology and test spectrum.
“NEC observed with sadness the continuous human capital flight that has escalated to an alarming proportion. In 2022 alone the nation lost about 906 medical laboratory scientists to human capital flight.
AMLSN, even regretted that the paltry budgetary allocation for the health sector spanning about two decades now has continued to fall short of recommendations of the African Union declaration Abuja in 2001 that member nation’s should commit not less than 15per cent of their annual budget to the health sector.
The association which called on incoming government to change the status quo, however, observed, “So far we have perused through the health agenda of manifestoes of the leading candidates in the elections and we are concerned that some are lacking in depth, scope and strategy.
“We hereby call on the candidates to reassess the situation on ground and enrich their Healthcare agenda for the nation”
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