The Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria has advised newly inducted foreign-trained doctors to consider practising their medical profession in the country, instead of travelling abroad in search of greener pastures.
The MDCN said many of the doctors who had migrated to other countries are currently regretting their action, given the discrimination they face in the workplace.
The Registrar of the council, Dr Tajudeen Sanusi, said this on Thursday during the induction of 477 foreign-trained medical and dental graduates, comprising 469 medicine graduates and eight dentistry graduates.
He said, “People continue to say that they want to emigrate. If you go out, have a mission. You can avail yourself of the best facilities there in terms of training. But, always remember that there is no other country than your own, and think of coming back. Please, the issue of ‘Japa’ won’t do anybody any good.
“Some of those abroad are already regretting that they ought to have come back. Later in your career over there, when you start experiencing some kind of discrimination, you will know that you have succeeded in wasting your time. We advise that when you go there, always have it in mind that you need to come back home and render care to your people.”
Sanusi also cautioned the newly inducted doctors against participating in medical associations’ strikes.
He said while the doctors have the constitutional right of freedom of association, they are not regarded as members of the Association of Resident Doctors going by the council.
“By the council policy, you are not members of the ARD. However, by the Nigerian constitution, there is the freedom of association, and you can join. But if they call for a strike, don’t join them because your programme is structured and uninterrupted in each of the postings. The moment you interrupt, you will start all over at no cost to the government. That is the implication.
“It is not only for the house officers; it is for doctors as a whole. Yes, a strike is something you can embark on by labour law with prior notification to your employer.
“The fact that you have some in-patients, you already owe them the duty of care. Under no condition must you discharge these patients because you want to go on strike.
“Again, during the strike action, the accident and emergency (unit) must be manned with a duty roster so that any patient in need of your services can be given first aid and asked to go and sort themselves out somewhere. It is not for you to entirely close down the health facility to the public.”
The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, who was represented by the Director of Planning, Research and Statistics of the Ministry, Dr Ngozi Azodo, lamented the mass exodus of doctors and urged the inducted doctors to render selfless services to patients.
“When people come to you in their most vulnerable state, they know you can help them. Don’t exploit them. Commit today to help your patient, society, and community to the best of your ability for the benefit of humanity. Doctors must care for themselves because if not, they will not be able to care for the rest of humanity.”