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Nigeria at 62: We’ve improved health facilities, Buhari says 

Angela Onwuzoo 

With medical professionals moving abroad in droves, the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) on Saturday, said his administration had improved the nation’s health facilities, especially during and after the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Buhari stated this in what would be his last Independence Day address to the country on October 1, 2022.

According to him, in the past few years, “we have witnessed and overcome a good number of challenges that would ordinarily have destroyed our nation.”

The president said, “Fellow Nigerians, we have also improved our health facilities, especially during and after the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, which attracted commendation from the global community.

“As you are aware, Nigeria was one of the countries that defied global predictions of the socio-economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic because of our resilience, commitment, and passion with which we individually and collectively managed the pandemic.

“I share the pains Nigerians are going through and I assure you that your resilience and patience would not be in vain as this administration continues to reposition.”

Buhari noted that the indefatigable spirit of the Nigerian people had ensured that the nation overcome its challenges.

“It is in this spirit that I call on all of us to individually and collectively bring to the fore in dealing with all our development issues.

“I was called to serve, and along with my team, I saw an opportunity to create a better Nigeria which we have done with the support of Nigerians. Almighty God and the good people of Nigeria supported us in laying a solid foundation for the Nigeria of our dreams.”

The president said his administration remains committed to lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in 10 years.

As Buhari boast of improved health facilities, the Nigeria Association of Resident Doctors says six out of 10 doctors in the country plan to leave the country for greener pastures.

The Publicity Secretary of NARD, Dr. Alfa Yusuf, described brain drain as a menace bedevilling the health sector, expressing concern that situation may get to a stage where Nigeria will have to be scouting for doctors in the country if nothing was done about it.

Also, no fewer than 6,068 medical doctors moved to the United Kingdom since the regime of Buhari started in 2015 according to data obtained from the General Medical Council of the United Kingdom.

The data showed that the total number of Nigeria-trained doctors who migrated to the UK as of August 30, 2022, stood at 10,096.

Presently, Nigeria has the third highest number of foreign doctors working in the UK after India and Pakistan.

The President, Medical and Dental Consultants Association of Nigeria, Dr. Victor Makanjuola, last week said Nigeria had lost 500 consultants to brain drain in the last two years. 

Makanjuola, during an interview with The PUNCH, said, “We conducted a survey in our 82 chapters in March, and out of the 37 that responded, 253 consultants from different specialties have left the country for greener pastures in the last two years. 

“The remaining chapters have not sent in their response for some reason. We are estimating that if 90 to 100 per cent of all the chapters respond, over 500 consultants might have left the country in two years.

“That’s our rough estimate and that is a major disaster for the country.”

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