The President of the Medical and Dental Consultants Association of Nigeria (MDCAN), Prof. Ken Ozoilo, has said that the recruitment of Nigerian doctors by Saudi Arabia would amount to a huge loss and an all-round disaster to the health sector in the country. He spoke against the background of a recruitment drive being conducted by Saudi officials in Abuja to employ Nigerian doctors to provide healthcare services in their country. He disclosed this while reacting to a trending video showing about 500 Nigerian doctors that were at the venue of the recruitment. Consequently, Ozoilo lamented that what the Saudi Arabian officials were seeking were doctors at the level of consultants – obstetric gynaecologists, ophthalmologists, orthopaedics, among others –who he described as highly trained manpower.
According to him, in MDCAN presently, “There are about 5,000 medical specialists across Nigeria.” He reasoned that if 500 consultants had appeared for this interview conducted by Saudi officials; that means they were employing about 10 per cent of the total strength of MDCAN, in just one recruitment interview.
He said: “It is a loss that no system can withstand; it is an all-round disaster for the country, because these are valuable manpower that are sustaining what we have in the health system.” To halt such brain drain, the MDCAN president advised the government to set up a task force to halt brain drain. “It is not only when there is COVID-19 outbreak that a task force should be established,” he said.