Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige has denied saying doctors are free to leave Nigeria, as we have more than enough in the country.
The Minister, who claimed to have been misquoted, said what he actually said was that since there was sufficient space for residency training for medical doctors in the country, graduate of medicine who could not find space for such training were free to seek such training in other countries and become professionals in their chosen field.
In a statement signed by Nwachukwu Obidiwe, his Special Assistant on Media, Ngige described the controversies that had trailed his comment as unnecessary, calling for a deeper understanding of the issue in question. He said;
“I speak from the vantage position of being a medical doctor and member, Nigerian Medical Association since June, 1979 and enriched by my vast knowledge on health administration. Having retired as a Deputy Director, Medical Services and Training from the Federal Ministry of Health in 1998, member of Vision 2010 Committee on Health as well as senior member, Senate Committee on Health 2011-2015.
“Therefore, the truth no matter how it hurts, must be told and reality, boldly faced. Hence, apart from Nigeria’s non-compliance with the World Health Organisation’s ratio of one doctor to six hundred patients of which I was misquoted. Every other thing I said in that interview is an existential reality, useful and constructive facts which every Nigerian that watched the full interview will hardly dispute.
“I invite opinion moulders especially those who have spoken or written on this issue to watch the full clip of my interview with the channels. And it is for this reason that I admitted having a little cause to worry about brain drain among medical doctors.
“The fact is that while the Federal Government has recorded a remarkably steady improvement in our healthcare system, Nigeria is yet to get there,”