How Health Development Bank can Stop Health Sector Brain Drain, Medical Tourism in Nigeria


Health Sector Brain Drain in Nigeria

Brain drain refers to the emigration of skilled and talented individuals, especially healthcare professionals, from their home country to seek better opportunities and working conditions abroad. Nigeria has been facing a significant brain drain in the health sector for decades, with many doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals leaving the country for better prospects in developed countries.

According to Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), over 2000 medical doctors and other healthcare professionals leave Nigeria every year to seek for better working conditions abroad, especially in UK, USA and Canada. In recent times, Nigerian trained healthcare workers have starting migrating to Asian countries like UAE, Saudi Arabia, even to neighboring African countries. 

Medical Tourism in Nigeria

Medical tourism occurs when people from one country travel to another for medical treatment. Nigeria has experienced medical tourism as citizens seek advanced medical treatments and facilities that may not be readily available in the country. This drains the Nigerian economy and healthcare system, as patients spend substantial amounts abroad, which could otherwise be invested in domestic healthcare infrastructure. The Nigerian presidents and almost all public office holders seek for medical treatment abroad with public funds. This has had great negative impact on the country’s foreign Reserve and exchange, thereby further weakening the Naira.

There have been several calls for the Nigerian governments to invest significantly in health sector especially in healthcare infrastructure, and decent remunerations for healthcare workers. 

Amongst the propositions by the healthcare workers unions and associations to address the rising brain drain in Nigeria’s health sector is the establishment of a Health Sector Development Bank. 

Concept of Health Sector Development Bank

The idea of a Health Sector Development Bank involves the establishment of a specialized financial institution with the mandate of funding and supporting the development and growth of the healthcare sector in Nigeria. This bank would have a mandate to provide financial assistance and resources to improve healthcare infrastructure, medical education, and training, as well as the working conditions of healthcare professionals within the country.

The government had established some other industry-specific development banks for development and growth of such sectors. So, it would not be wrong to establish a health sector development bank for the development and growth of Nigeria’s heath sector as it would curb brain drain, medical tourism, and above all, ensures quality healthcare delivery in the country.

How the Health Development Bank Could Help

Investing in Infrastructure

The bank could provide low-interest loans or grants to healthcare institutions and government agencies to upgrade medical facilities and infrastructure. Improved facilities could attract and retain healthcare professionals within the country.

Training and Education

The bank could support medical education and training programs to enhance the skills of healthcare professionals. This investment in human capital can improve the quality of healthcare services, reducing the incentive for professionals to leave the country. According to report by Premium Times, Nigeria needs about 363,000 doctors but has only about 24,000 doctors. And Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) claims over 50 doctors leave Nigeria every week.

Competitive Salaries and Incentives

The bank could collaborate with the government to ensure that healthcare professionals receive competitive salaries and benefits. This step would discourage brain drain by offering better remuneration packages.

Research and Innovation

The bank could support research and development initiatives in the healthcare sector, promoting innovation and advanced medical treatments within Nigeria. This could reduce the need for citizens to seek medical treatment abroad.

Collaboration with Private Sector 

Partnering with private healthcare providers could lead to the creation of more opportunities and advancements in the health sector, making it less likely for healthcare professionals to leave the country.

Challenges and Implementations 

Establishing and managing a Health Sector Development Bank would require a well-defined framework, transparent governance, and effective collaboration with relevant stakeholders. Ensuring that funds are utilized appropriately and reach the intended beneficiaries would be critical. In Addition, addressing systemic issues such as corruption, bureaucratic inefficiencies, and political instability would be essential to the bank's success.

Read Also: Development Banks in Nigeria and Their Functions

Post a Comment

Previous Post Next Post