Civil rights advocacy group, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, (HURIWA) on Thursday, urged President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately dismiss the Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire; and his counterpart in the Ministry of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, over the mass exodus of doctors under the current regime. HURIWA wonders why the minister of Education Adamu Adamu that can’t solve the protracted strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) is doing as minister when he has spectacularly failed as a leader.
HURIWA’s National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, in a statement, berated both ministers for poor management of human resources, especially in the health sector which is pivotal to the wellness of any nation. The Rights group blamed Education Minister as principally responsible for jeopardising the educational right of millions of Nigerians youths who have remained at home for over 5 months due to the lack of managerial and Conflicts resolution acumen by the Education minister.
Of recent, Ehanire had carelessly said, “We have heard complaints of doctors who are now leaving the system, but there are actually enough doctors in the system because we are producing up to 2,000 or 3,000 doctors every year in the country and the number leaving is less than 1,000.”
In 2019, Ngige, who is also a medical doctor, had flippantly said he is not worried about doctors leaving the country, saying, “We have a surplus. If you have a surplus, you export.”
According to the General Medical Council which licenses and maintains the official register of medical practitioners in the United Kingdom, the number of Nigeria-trained doctors in the UK currently stands at 9,976. The figure does not include other doctors of Nigerian origin who did not undergo medical training in Nigeria which currently has the third highest number of foreign doctors working in the UK after India and Pakistan.
The Nigerian Medical Association and the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors continue to lament that there are between 20,000 and 25,000 doctors in Nigeria. Going by Nigeria’s population of over 200 million people, that is by a ratio of one doctor to between 4,000 and 5,000 patients whilst the World Health Organisation recommends one doctor for 600 patients.
HURIWA’s Onwubiko said, “It is shameful the statements credited to both ministers in media reports. Obviously, the health sector is in a comatose with President Buhari spending about 300 days in the United Kingdom on medical vacation whilst doctors embark on strike every other day.
“Ngige and Ehanire are classical failures in this administration that have created spectacular social, economic and security concerns for Nigerians yet President Buhari can’t sack them as if to say there’s a secret oath sworn by those controlling central government to hear no evil see no evil but do all evil s and be protected.
“Overall, the President must better the standard of living of doctors which is the cardinal reason they are leaving the country. The President should demonstrate that he is not insensitive and irresponsible by sacking these non performing ministers and pick competent Nigerians to handle these critical sectors. HURIWA said the President has virtually lost an opportunity to bequeath a lasting legacy by failing to take charge of his government and relieve incompetent cabinet level appointees of their positions so others who are qualified for such strategic portfolios to take over to salvage the badly battered education and health sectors.
September 8, 2022
Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko
National Coordinator – HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA.