Sunday, March 3, 2024

Japa: Over 500 workers left National Hospital in two years, says CMD

Mr Raji told journalists on Sunday in Abuja that most health workers went abroad in search of better working conditions.

• February 4, 2024
National Hospital Abuja
Photo of National Hospital Abuja used to illustrate this story

Over 500 workers at the National Hospital, Abuja (NHA), left the facility searching for greener pastures in the last two years, its chief medical director, Mahmud Raji, has disclosed.

Mr Raji told journalists on Sunday in Abuja that most of them went abroad in search of better working conditions.

“The way they leave is a very hurtful thing for all hospital administrators,” said Mr Raji.

“The most pitiful and worrisome aspect of it is the amount of money the Nigerian government has invested into each of these individuals, either a doctor, a nurse, a pharmacist, a physiotherapist, or whoever it is that leaves,” he added.

He said the brain drain syndrome was an almost everyday activity as he treats two or three files of young people wishing to leave.

“Sometimes, not only young people; some people have actually gone through the ranks with lots of experience that they could teach other people. So, Nigeria is losing so much, painfully,” the CMD stated.

He noted that medical engineers, senior doctors, especially those in the middle cadre, and nurses from the middle cadre had left the country.

Mr Raji said remuneration and job satisfaction had always topped the list of reasons for their departure.

“We should also look at the unsolved problem of inter-professional rivalry that eats into people’s psyche. People should be comfortable with the next person they’re working with, be it a nurse, a physiotherapist or whoever,” said Mr Raji.

Mr Raji also said that when necessary equipment are non-existent or obsolete, the healthcare practitioners feel that more should have been done.

He, however, said past governments had tried to take a very decisive stance on health matters. He added that the current government has also invested a lot to rejig the health sector.

“From what we can all see, the current administration has rekindled that hope in us that in the next couple of months, a couple of years, we will see a change or a shift in this mindset among Nigerian health professionals eager to leave the country.

“Hopefully, we should even be able to attract them to come back while we retain the ones here,” he said.

However, he said NHA had employed various strategies to retain the healthcare personnel working there.

“I may not be able to change their remuneration since this is within the purview of government; we try to pacify them because remuneration is usually the first thing people complain about.

“Secondly, in terms of welfare, at least we have tried as much as possible to relieve some of them,” he stated.

The CMD also said the hospital management set up cooperatives and got mortgage organisations to assist staff and make the work environment conducive.

The CMD said the hospital was also trying to fix the equipment that were not working efficiently or not working at all.

On the issue of inter-professional rivalry in the healthcare sector, he said that even though it exists in other institutions, there is a harmonious relationship at NHA at NHA.

He added that there have hardly been local strikes at NHA in the last couple of years because of the harmonious relationship.


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