The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) is opposed to a measure that would require medical and dental professionals to practise for five years before moving abroad.
The measure stipulates that healthcare professionals must work for five years prior to obtaining a full licence, passed the second reading in the House of Representatives on Thursday.
The bill, sponsored by Lagos lawmaker Ganiyu Johnson of the All Progressives Congress (APC), proposes to amend the Medical and Dental Practitioners Act of 2004 to address the brain drain in the health sector.
It is only reasonable, according to Johnson, that medical doctors who receive taxpayer funding for their education contribute to society.
Friday, in an interview with TheCable, the national president of the NMA, stated that the measure would never become law.
“I am confident they know this bill cannot succeed because it violates international labour laws. Why are they only interested in Nigerian medical personnel if all university graduates were subsidised? He queried.
“It is acceptable for them to require that all Nigerian institution graduates remain in the country for five years, as the law is no longer discriminatory. But targeting only Nigerian physicians cannot endure the test of time.” Why is the House of Representatives not engaged in stopping medical tourism with legislation? Do they not believe medical tourism is detrimental to Nigeria? Instead of taking care of our health sector, everyone from the president to the national assembly receives medical treatment abroad. And the national assembly has not enacted legislation to regulate it.
“There are numerous issues that Nigeria should prioritise, but I’m glad that some assembly members opposed the measure. The measure is discriminatory and cannot be passed.”
The president of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) stated that the national assembly’s consideration of the measure will cause Nigerian physicians to flee the country in a hurry.
“The solution is not the measure, but rather identifying and addressing the root causes of brain drain.” You state that they will seek greener pastures; therefore, make their pastures verdant in Nigeria. “It is easy,” he stated.
“Before you realise it, some of those planning to leave in one or two years will leave immediately out of fear.
“Let me therefore take this opportunity to urge Nigerian physicians to remain tranquil. No one will ever impede physicians’ freedom of movement during my presidency. It is a constitutional guarantee.”