In a concerning trend, the Registrar of the Medical Laboratory Science Council of Nigeria, Dr. Tosan Erhabor, revealed that an alarming 10,697 medical laboratory scientists have migrated abroad in search of better opportunities. The gravity of the situation becomes even more pronounced when considering that a staggering 4,504 professionals left the country in the year 2023 alone. This exodus has prompted the Federal Ministry of Health to take proactive measures, with a comprehensive policy in the works to regulate the migration of health workers.
Dr. Erhabor emphasized the need for urgent action to address the brain drain affecting the healthcare sector in a recent interview with news correspondents. He highlighted that the migration of medical laboratory scientists can be attributed to various factors, including poor remuneration, uncertainties in career progression within teaching hospitals, and the desire to study abroad for skill enhancement and professional growth. One of the critical issues contributing to the migration is the inadequate compensation for health professionals, a concern that the government is actively addressing.
Government mulling reviewing health workers’ wage.
Erhabor disclosed that the hazard allowance for health professionals is under review, aiming to boost their productivity and morale. Additionally, the government is contemplating the revision of the minimum wage and specific allowances for health workers, acknowledging the importance of creating a conducive work environment to retain skilled professionals. The imminent policy, once launched, is expected to play a pivotal role in regulating the migration of Nigerian health workers. It aims to strike a balance between the aspirations of healthcare professionals and the country’s need for a robust healthcare system.
By addressing the root causes of the brain drain, such as inadequate remuneration, the policy endeavors to create an environment where medical laboratory scientists can thrive and contribute to the nation’s healthcare infrastructure. Dr. Erhabor identified several reasons behind the migration, shedding light on the multifaceted challenges faced by medical laboratory scientists in Nigeria. Beyond financial concerns, professionals are leaving due to uncertainties in career progression within teaching hospitals, a critical issue that the policy seeks to rectify. Moreover, the desire to pursue higher education abroad and acquire new skills has driven a significant number of professionals away.
Reasons professionals are migrating abroad from Nigeria.
Factors such as the prevailing security challenges, inadequate infrastructure, and the absence of modern equipment are identified as key contributors to the migration of healthcare professionals. The upcoming policy, cognizant of the critical need for a secure and supportive work environment, is strategically positioned to tackle these issues in a comprehensive manner. The policy underscores the importance of furnishing healthcare professionals with essential tools and facilities, emphasizing their crucial role in performing duties effectively. Recognizing the pivotal link between a conducive work environment and the retention of skilled professionals, the policy aims to create conditions that not only address current challenges but also foster long-term sustainability within the healthcare sector.
Additionally, the rising cost of living in Nigeria has emerged as a significant factor driving medical laboratory scientists to seek opportunities abroad. Dr. Erhabor highlighted the practical impossibility for an average medical laboratory scientist to provide basic care and quality education for their children, further emphasizing the need for comprehensive reforms in the healthcare sector. The government’s proactive approach in reviewing hazard allowances, minimum wage, and other specific allowances demonstrates a commitment to retaining and motivating healthcare professionals.
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Acknowledging the interconnectedness of various factors contributing to brain drain, the policy aims to create a holistic framework that ensures the well-being and professional growth of medical laboratory scientists. Importantly, the migration of medical laboratory scientists from Nigeria is a complex issue with multifaceted causes. The Federal Ministry of Health’s forthcoming policy signals a promising step towards addressing these challenges comprehensively. By regulating migration, reviewing compensation packages, and creating a conducive work environment, the government aims to stem the brain drain, ultimately bolstering the nation’s healthcare system and retaining valuable healthcare professionals.