The House of Representatives is considering a bill seeking to mandate Nigerian-trained medical and dental practitioners to practice in the country for a minimum of five years in the country before being granted a full licence.
The bill has now passed the second reading in the House of Representatives.
An All Progressives Congress (APC) lawmaker from Lagos, Ganiyu Johnson, is sponsoring the bill seeking the amendment of the Medical and Dental Practitioners Act 2004. He said it is to address the brain drain in the Nigerian health sector.
Medical and dental practitioners trained in the country will have to practice for no fewer than five years before they are granted a full licence if passed into law.
Johnson, who led the debate on the bill during plenary, on Thursday, said the bill aims to “make quality health services available to Nigerians”.
Johnson said it was only fair for medical doctors, who enjoyed taxpayer subsidies on their training, to give back to society.
He added that the bill will stop the vacuum created by doctors who leave the country immediately after their housemanship.
Johnson said, “What really prompted this, there was a motion that I raised on medical brain drain and in that motion, I prayed for certain things that our public healthcare should be upgraded to general hospitals, our general hospitals should be upgraded to specialist hospitals and research centres.
“Also I prayed in that motion that the welfare packages of our medical practitioners should be improved through financial institutions and private sector collaboration with the government. I waited for a while, but nothing happened, it was the reverse.
“I noticed there is a heavy decline in medical brain drain from 24,000 to now as we speak we have less than 10,000 doctors in Nigeria, so that is alarming. I now talked to myself and said let us look at our laws.
“I noticed that the vacuum is that immediately after housemanship, most doctors because of greener pastures, there is a capital flight from Nigeria to the UK, to America and all that. Now the government has invested so much money in training these medical doctors.”