- Minister of labour, Chris Ngige denies saying Nigeria has enough medical doctors
- Ngige clarifies that he only said graduates of the medical profession who could not find space for training are free to travel abroad
- The minister claims his interview was distorted while insisting that there are enough medical personnel to handle non-specialist areas in the rural areas
Amid heavy criticisms, Nigeria’s minister of labour and employment, Chris Ngige, has denied claiming that the country has enough medical doctors during a television programme.
Ngige, a medical doctor and one-time senator, had faced criticisms from Nigerians and various unions after he appeared on the television programme and was quoted as saying the country is not bothered by the number of doctors running out of the country.
Saying he was misquoted by the report, Ngige stressed that he did not say doctors were free to export their profession to other countries and make foreign exchange for the Nigeria.
The minister said what he told the anchor of the programme was that since there was sufficient space for residency training for medical doctors in the country, graduates of medicine who could not find space for such training were free to travel abroad for their trainings and to become professionals.
In a statement issued to clarify the controversy, Ngige emphasised that Nigeria has enough medical professionals to handle non-specialist areas in the rural parts of Nigeria.
The minister’s statement issued by his aide, Nwachukwu Obidiwe, said the interview session he had was distorted and misrepresented.
The Nation reports Ngige as saying: “I speak from the vintage position of being a medical doctor and member, Nigerian Medical Association since June, 1979 and enriched by my vast knowledge on health administration, having retired as a deputy director, medical services and training from the federal ministry of health in 1998, member of ‘Vision 2010 committee on health as well as senior member, Senate committee on health 2011-2015.
“Therefore, the truth no matter how it hurts, must be told and reality, boldly faced.
“I invite opinion moulders especially those who have spoken or written on this issue to watch the full clip of my interview with the channels.”
The minister said it was for this reason that he admitted having a little cause to worry about brain drain among medical doctors.
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According to him, the fact is that while the federal government has recorded a remarkably steady improvement in the country’s healthcare system, Nigeria is yet to get there.
“We do not at present have enough health facilities to accommodate all the doctors seeking to do tertiary specialist training (residency) in the teaching hospitals, Federal Medical Centres (FMCs) and few accredited state and private specialist centres in the country where roughly 20% of the yearly applicants are absorbed while the remaining 80%, try their luck elsewhere,” he said.
Legit.ng earlier reported that Chris Ngige said there was nothing wrong in medical doctors travelling out of Nigeria in search of greener pastures because the country has enough.
The report said the minister disagreed with the popular notion that the country does not have enough doctors.
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