Nigerian Health Workers Condemn Government’s Ban on Overseas Leave

The Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) and the Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU) have strongly criticized the Federal Government’s recent ban on health professionals seeking leave of absence to work abroad.

The government’s directive, which mandates health workers to resign before traveling overseas in search of better opportunities, was met with backlash from NARD and JOHESU. Both organizations emphasized that the root cause of the brain drain phenomenon, popularly known as ‘Japa,’ lies in unresolved issues within the Nigerian healthcare system.

President of NARD, Dr. Dele Abdullahi, highlighted the disconnect between government policies and the reality on the ground. He noted that many healthcare workers leave the country due to factors such as low remuneration, poor working conditions, lack of necessary equipment, and security concerns. Abdullahi criticized the government for adopting a reactionary approach instead of addressing the underlying issues driving professionals away.

Similarly, Dr. Kabiru Minjibir, National Chairman of JOHESU, echoed Abdullahi’s sentiments, stressing the importance of addressing health workers’ demands to curb the brain drain. Minjibir emphasized the need for improved salaries, allowances, and working conditions to incentivize health professionals to remain in Nigeria.

Both NARD and JOHESU urged the government to engage with stakeholders and implement comprehensive reforms to retain healthcare workers and improve the country’s healthcare system.


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