The Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi, has urged the Nigerian doctors and medical practitioners to leverage on the opportunities abound in brain drain syndrome to improve themselves.

Abayomi gave the advice at the 2022 Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Association Resident Doctors (ARD), Federal Neuro-psychiatric Hospital Yaba, on Wednesday in Lagos.

He was represented at the AGM by Dr. Tolu Ajomale, the Head, Special Project & Mental Health, Lagos State Ministry of Health.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the theme of the event is: ‘Geriatric Abuse and Depression: A Consequence of “Japa” Fever?’

According to him, many opportunities abound in the brain drain syndrome, which has resulted to the exodus of medical professionals to abroad in search of greener pastures.

He advised that the remaining practicing medical professionals should not see the brain drain issue as a challenge, but as an opportunity to develop their professional skills and knowledge.

“The brain drain issue should be seen as an opportunity for accelerated progress and development.

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“Engage yourselves in professional development programmes to improve your knowledge about the profession so that when those that traveled abroad definitely come back, you would have occupied the best positions and be able to show them where to start.

“The truth is that home will always be home, and once you traveled to somewhere you will always remain a visitor,” he said.

Prof. Oyetunde Alagbe, Diplomate, American Board of Neurology and Psychiatry, described the brain drain syndrome as a major contributing factor to the economic downturns in the country.

Alagbe, also a guest speaker at the event, said that the brain drain issue, particularly in the medical sector had posed a great threat to the Nigerian economy.

He called for an urgent action to curb the trend.

Alagbe listed some of the push factors to the situation as war, poverty, lack of safety, poor working condition, poor renumeration, inflation, insecurity and lack of incentives.

Alagbe, therefore, urged the Federal Government to intensify efforts toward provision of the basic amenities that attract people to other countries.

“Though there are different reasons why people migrate, but if the basic ones can be provided, it will go a long to retain many in the country.

“The society, particularly the government should take it upon itself to ensure a conducive environment for the citizens,” he said.

Dr. Olusegun Olaopa, Consultant Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon, Federal Medical Centre, Ebute-Metta, called for improved diplomatic relationship with other countries for easy migration and return of medical practitioners.

Olaopa said that good diplomatic relationship was necessary to create room for medical practitioners to easily migrate to other countries to practice and return back when desired.

According to him, whatever reason people may want to change environment and decide to go practice in another country for sometime and return back.

The Medical Director, Federal Neuro-psychiatric Hospital Yaba, Dr. Olugbenga Owoeye, said that the brain drain syndrome had resulted to social isolation, elderly abuse and depression.

Owoeye explained that the parents and elderly ones which the medical practitioners were leaving behind to travel abroad were suffering of loneliness and depression.

He advised that the medical practitioners should always consider their parents and elderly ones before taking the decision to travel out of the country.

Earlier, the ARD President, Dr. Samuel Aladejare, said that many medical professionals had left the system in search of greener pastures abroad, creating vacuum in the medical sector.

Aladejare observed that the few remaining medical practitioners were faced with a lot of workloads. (NAN)