June 24, 2024

FG Increases Enrollment in Medical and Nursing Schools to Tackle Brain Drain




The Federal Government has announced a significant increase in the enrollment quota for medical, nursing, and other health professional schools from 28,000 to 64,000 students annually.


This measure, revealed by the Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Prof. Muhammad Pate, aims to address the growing emigration of health workers from Nigeria.


During a sectoral ministerial press briefing marking President Bola Tinubu’s first anniversary in office, Prof. Pate highlighted the need to bolster the country’s healthcare workforce amid rising concerns over the mass exodus of health professionals. The move comes in response to inadequate equipment, worsening insecurity, poor working conditions, and a deficient salary structure, which have driven many Nigerian health workers to seek better opportunities abroad.


Data from the Medical and Dental Consultants’ Association of Nigeria shows that between 2019 and 2023, approximately 1,056 consultants left the country. Additionally, the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors reported that over 900 of its members emigrated to Europe between January and September 2023.


“We have doubled the intake, the enrollment, the quotas of medical schools, nursing schools, and other health professionals’ schools from an enrollment target of 28,000 a year to 64,000 now,” Prof. Pate stated. He emphasized that this increase is just the first step, urging the education sector and state governments to improve infrastructure, training, and resources to produce a more robust healthcare workforce.


The minister also reported progress in Primary Health Care Centres (PHCs), with at least 1,400 centers now providing skilled birth attendants. More than 2,400 health workers, including doctors, nurses, and midwives, have been recruited to deliver essential health services in rural areas.


Prof. Pate highlighted the Federal Government’s disbursement of the first tranche of N25 billion from the Basic Health Care Provision Fund through the National Primary Health Care Development Agency and the National Health Insurance Authority. “Twenty-three states have received those funds, and the rest are about to complete and receive their financing to channel through the PHCs,” he said, noting that states must comply with fiduciary guidelines to ensure proper use of the resources.


The Minister of State for Health and Social Welfare, Dr. Tunji Alausa, also addressed the issue of inadequate admissions in medical and dental institutions. In October 2023, Dr. Alausa acknowledged that the current annual production of 3,000 doctors is insufficient and outlined strategies to increase admissions and retain healthcare professionals by making the work environment more attractive.

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