MDCAN Opposes Bill to Clampdown on Migration of Medical Professionals
The Medical and Dental Consultants Association of Nigeria, (MDCAN) has opposed the bill seeking to compel newly trained doctors to work for five years in the country before being granted qualifying licence to seek greener pastures elsewhere.
The proposed legislation which has passed the second reading at the lower chamber of the National Assembly is to discourage doctors from leaving the country in droves and heightening the brain drain scourge.
According to the bill sponsored by Hon. Abiodun Ganiyu Johnson, the aim was to make it mandatory for fresh medical graduates to provide services to Nigeria for up to five years before receiving a full registration and license to practice.
However, in a statement jointly signed by the President of MDCAN, Dr. Victor Makanjuola and General Secretary, Dr. Yemi Raji, stated that the bill was not only discriminatory and harsh, but also against the interest of the people.
The doctors said the bill violates the constitution of Nigeria, as Section 34 (1) b states that, “no person shall be held in slavery or servitude” while section 34 (1) (c) states that, “no one shall be required to perform forced or compulsory labour.
The statement added: “We received with a rude shock the news of a bill purporting to make it mandatory for fresh medical graduates to provide services to Nigeria for up to five years before receiving a full registration and license to practice.
“This proposal is such that they would not be able to leave the country until after five years post qualification. It is even more worrisome that the bill has passed through the second reading.”
It stated that what the proposed legislation may achieve if passed into law would be to increase the pool of unemployed and disenchanted Nigerians rather than providing solution to the problem of exodus of medical professionals.
MDCAN said that it has along with sister associations in the health sector, provided to the appropriate agencies of government both useful and practical suggestions on how to remedy the situation but that none heeded such advice.
It said healthcare workforce shortage was a global phenomenon that required international collaboration to address, through well thought-out, fair, and just guidelines. Hence, enacting a law to address such a global issue with a local quick fix is an over kill.
It added that MDCAN has over the past two years, been in the forefront of calling the attention of policy makers in government and other critical stakeholders to the ongoing, massive health sector brain drain.
It further said the 2022 survey on exodus of medical professionals revealed that over 500 consultants were estimated to have left Nigeria over the preceding two years.
“While we look forward to the public hearing to clarify our views on the floor of the Parliament, it is our hope that the points enunciated above will get the proponents of this bill to strongly consider its withdrawal to save cost on further legislative processes on the bill.
“We hereby convey our total rejection of the Bill and pray that it should be thrown out completely.
“Laws and policies that enhance the rate of production of good quality health care manpower while promoting the desire and willingness of health care workforce to stay back in the country should be the core focus of the National Assembly at this time.
“As the National Assembly remains the bastion of our democracy, laws that will make light of the most draconian military dictatorship should not emanate from our Hallowed Chambers,” it said.