Brain Drain: Resident Doctors In Anambra Call for Action

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In a resounding call to action, Resident Doctors at the Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University Teaching Hospital (COOUTH), Awka, Anambra State have urgently appealed to governmental bodies across all tiers to confront the pressing issue of brain drain debilitating the nation’s medical service delivery.
During the inaugural Annual General Meeting and Academic Conference of the Association of Resident Doctors (ARD), COOUTH branch, held in Awka over the weekend, medical professionals united under the theme, “Brain Drain and the Residency Training Programme, Striking a Balance”.
Dr. Nnaemeka Añunihu, President of ARD, COOUTH, highlighted the escalating impact of brain drain within the medical sector, stressing that Nigeria faces an unacceptable surge in this global phenomenon, significantly affecting healthcare.
Añunihu emphasized that various factors fuel the exodus of doctors, including disparities in wages, inadequate facilities, security concerns, and the perceived value of earned wages. He underlined the loss incurred by the country due to the departure of skilled Nigerian doctors, urging proactive measures to retain them.
“There are a number of factors influencing the exodus of doctors, including the push and the pull factors, wages, facilities, security and value for earned wages.
“Brain drain is a serious loss to us as a country because Nigerian doctors are some of the best across the world, so why would we not want to keep them here,” he said.
Acknowledging challenges within COOUTH’s Residency program, Añunihu advocated for the implementation of the Medical Residency Training Act, ensuring the protection of doctors’ fates through legal measures.
Dr. Princeton Okam, a consultant obstetrician at Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital, corroborated the severity of brain drain, asserting that this issue persists as a significant predicament within the medical profession. Okam stressed the need for government intervention while also urging doctors to contemplate ways to address the problem collectively.
Dr. Josephat Akabuike, Chief Medical Director of COOUTH, lauded the dedication of Resident Doctors and pledged continuous support to enhance staff welfare and productivity. He cautioned against transferring frustrations onto patients, urging a focus on patient well-being despite challenges.
Delivering a keynote lecture, Dr. Nnaemka Umedum delineated brain drain as the migration of highly skilled medical professionals from less developed to more developed nations. Umedum identified various causes such as inadequate opportunities for advanced medical training, underfunded healthcare systems, poor remuneration, and socioeconomic and political challenges in developing countries.
He stressed the dire consequences of brain drain, including the loss of skilled human resources, stunting economic growth, and a lack of innovation in the affected countries. Umedum implored Resident Doctors and healthcare professionals to resist the temptation to emigrate and instead seek opportunities for additional training and experience within Nigeria.
The consensus among medical practitioners emphasized the urgency for immediate governmental action and a collective effort to address the multifaceted challenges exacerbating brain drain within the healthcare sector.




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