April 18, 2024

Nigeria Loses 16,000 Doctors in Five Years to ‘Japa’ Syndrome, Says Minister


The Federal Government reveals that Nigeria has experienced a significant loss in its health sector, with approximately 16,000 doctors leaving the country in the last five years due to the ‘Japa’ syndrome.


Corresponding Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Prof Ali Pate, disclosed this during an interview, noting that only 55,000 licensed doctors remain to address the healthcare needs of the growing population.


Pate emphasized the impact of the brain drain on the health sector, citing the loss of some of its best hands to hospitals and health facilities abroad. He revealed that, in addition to the departed doctors, about 17,000 health professionals have been transferred to other locations.


The Minister acknowledged the global nature of the ‘Japa’ phenomenon, affecting not only Nigeria but also countries like India, the Philippines, and other parts of Africa. He stressed the importance of expanding training programs and improving working conditions to retain healthcare professionals who choose to stay and serve their country.


While Pate recognized the motivation that leads individuals to work in the health sector, he highlighted the challenges faced by the remaining healthcare workforce, including excessive working hours. The government is taking steps to address these issues, considering factors such as salaries, working conditions, and ethical guidelines to ensure healthcare professionals feel valued and are not burnt out.

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