The Ondo State Government says plans are on to address the acute shortage of health workers within the health system in the state.
Francis Faduyile, special adviser to Governor Rotimi Akeredolu on Health, said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday in Akure, the state capital.
Mr Faduyile said the migration of health workers from the country was caused by factors beyond the control of the government at all levels.
The special adviser observed that this was not the first time “japa” (emigration) syndrome was happening in the country, noting that the country had similar experience from 1985 to 1990.
He, however, blamed it on some factors including devaluation of Naira and the COVID-19 pandemic, which exposed the weakness and strength of the health sector of countries all over the world.
Mr Faduyile said the state government was planning to bring back some retirees through a special arrangement that would make up the shortfalls until the system equilibrates.
“What is happening now is unprecedented. When they were going to Saudi then, it was our consultants, professors and our big time lecturers that went, they needed the best and the highest level of experience.
“But now it does not have segregation, we have the young, the new, the intermediate, the experienced ones that are going, so that is the peculiar thing that we are facing,” he stated.
He lamented that because the sector had been largely depleted, it was difficult to recruit people into the health sector.
“If you are looking for fresh people, they will tell you that they just wanted to have a place to work for four to five months before they perfect their papers, it is that serious.
“But the state government is looking into it and see what we can do to replace them, but we want to formalise it, so that as they are going, we are getting new people in replacement.
“We want to also see that those who are within the hospital can spare their time to visit other hospitals; so that one person can replicate himself in two or three centres.
“We equally want to look at some of our contiguous big hospitals around Owo and the Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospital, Ile-Ife, Osun, and get some of their personnel to complement what we have on ground.
“Also, some have retired; some have relocated back from wherever they were and are older than the age of fresh employment, we want to open up contract appointments so that they can join us.
“Again we are looking at the possibility of some of our retirees to come back on a special arrangement, so that we can still use them until we will be able to equilibrate again and move at a normal level.
“This is not peculiar to doctors’ alone, it affects the pharmacists, nurses, health assistants,” he said.
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Ondo State, like most states in the south-west, suffers from a dearth of health personnel. The ones available are often overstretched due to the load of patients they have to attend to.
Just as it is happening in almost every sector of the Nigerian economy, health personnel in the state, especially the young ones in their 20s, 30s and 40s, are relocating abroad in search of greener pastures.
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