The Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists of Nigeria has decried the alarming rate of brain drain in the country, saying that it lost about 906 of its members to human capital flight in 2022 alone.
It also frowned at medical tourism by Nigerians, adding that an estimated N664bn is being spent yearly on medical tourism in the country.
These were some of the observations raised by the association in a communiqué it issued on Saturday at the end of the meeting of its National Executive Council held in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.
The communiqué, which was signed by the association’s President, Prof James Damen; National Secretary, Prof Musa Muhibi; and National Publicity Secretary, Mr Olusoji Billyrose, respectively, attributed the brain drain to the poor leadership of the health sector, corruption, poor remuneration and toxic work experience and called on the government to address the concerns.
The communiqué read in part, “NEC observed with sadness, the human capital flight that has escalated to an alarming proportion.
“In 2022 alone, the nation lost about 906 medical laboratory scientists to human capital flight. We, therefore, call on the government to address these concerns as a futuristic remedy for the malady.”
The association said the N664bn spent on medical tourism yearly could have made Nigeria a health tourism destination if the amount was invested in building health infrastructures in the country.
It, therefore, called on the Federal Government, through the Central Bank and Bank of Industry, to provide “financial support through Special Intervention Funds for private sector investment for healthcare delivery and especially the building of mega and high-tech medical laboratories that can be globally competitive both in technology and test spectrum.”
The association further called on the National Assembly to expedite the passage of the Bill for an act to amend the University Teaching Hospitals (Reconstitution of Board etc), which was sponsored by one Bamidele Salami.
The National Publicity Secretary, Guild of Medical Laboratory Directors, Ikechukwu Ononuju, in an interview with The PUNCH on Sunday, said there was a need to invest in the health sector to reduce human capital flight.