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Brain drain: Psychiatric doctors leaving Nigeria in droves, Don laments

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A professor of psychiatry, Professor Taiwo Sheikh, says that the psychiatric profession bears the brunt of the ongoing brain drain trend in Nigeria's medical sector.
Mr. Sheikh, immediate former president of the Nigerian Psychiatrists Association, APN, made the revelation in an interview with the Nigerian News Agency in Lagos on Thursday.
According to him, the effects of the brain drain impact more in practice than in other professions in terms of psychiatric nurses, psychiatric doctors including caregivers and health workers in the field.



He said that for every five psychiatric doctors trained in Nigeria, three of them leave the country to practice abroad.
Mr. Sheikh, also a professor at Ahmadu Bello University, ABU, Zaria, lamented that the country had the requirements to train medical personnel but lacked the capacity to maintain, retain and sustain them.
The professor pointed out that having a psychiatric qualification, experience or certificate was a visa in itself because medical institutions abroad are always looking for such personnel and are ready to offer good or attractive remuneration.
“Many practitioners in the field of psychiatry have left the country to practice abroad.
“As I speak to you now, a psychiatric doctor somewhere is leaving or planning to leave the country to practice abroad, and it's as rampant as that.
“In Nigeria, we only have 300 psychiatric doctors and about 2,000 psychiatric nurses and they are moving.
“In the US alone, we have over 1,000 psychiatrists, not including nurses.  Similarly, in the UK, Canada and the like, it's almost the same number.
“So more than 5,000 Nigerian psychiatric doctors are practicing outside the country to the detriment of the Nigerian economy,” Sheikh told NAN.
The NPC president, however, said that the psychiatric/mental health system has been ignored and neglected in the country.
Mr. Sheikh therefore called on the federal government to pay attention to the country's mental health system in order to prioritize the welfare of the doctors in it.
According to him, the reasons for the incessant migration of psychiatric personnel are not far-fetched.
He listed the reasons to include poor pay, neglect of mental health, lack of work facilities, poor working conditions, inflation, lack of incentives, insecurity due to economic hardship, among others.
“Although there are different reasons why people migrate, but if the basic ones can be provided, it will take a long time to retain many in the country.
“Society, particularly the government, must learn to recognize and appreciate mental health, because it is as important as physical health and there is no health without mental health.
“That the Federal Government signs the Mental Health Bill before the National Assembly;  will go a long way in clearing the ground and creating recognition for mental health in Nigeria.
“The National Mental Health Service Delivery Policy needs to be reviewed, let it be reviewed,” Sheikh said.
YAYA
Brain drain: Psychiatric doctors leaving Nigeria in droves, Don laments

A professor of psychiatry, Professor Taiwo Sheikh, says that the psychiatric profession bears the brunt of the ongoing brain drain trend in Nigeria’s medical sector.

Mr. Sheikh, immediate former president of the Nigerian Psychiatrists Association, APN, made the revelation in an interview with the Nigerian News Agency in Lagos on Thursday.

According to him, the effects of the brain drain impact more in practice than in other professions in terms of psychiatric nurses, psychiatric doctors including caregivers and health workers in the field.

He said that for every five psychiatric doctors trained in Nigeria, three of them leave the country to practice abroad.

Mr. Sheikh, also a professor at Ahmadu Bello University, ABU, Zaria, lamented that the country had the requirements to train medical personnel but lacked the capacity to maintain, retain and sustain them.

The professor pointed out that having a psychiatric qualification, experience or certificate was a visa in itself because medical institutions abroad are always looking for such personnel and are ready to offer good or attractive remuneration.

“Many practitioners in the field of psychiatry have left the country to practice abroad.

“As I speak to you now, a psychiatric doctor somewhere is leaving or planning to leave the country to practice abroad, and it’s as rampant as that.

“In Nigeria, we only have 300 psychiatric doctors and about 2,000 psychiatric nurses and they are moving.

“In the US alone, we have over 1,000 psychiatrists, not including nurses. Similarly, in the UK, Canada and the like, it’s almost the same number.

“So more than 5,000 Nigerian psychiatric doctors are practicing outside the country to the detriment of the Nigerian economy,” Sheikh told NAN.

The NPC president, however, said that the psychiatric/mental health system has been ignored and neglected in the country.

Mr. Sheikh therefore called on the federal government to pay attention to the country’s mental health system in order to prioritize the welfare of the doctors in it.

According to him, the reasons for the incessant migration of psychiatric personnel are not far-fetched.

He listed the reasons to include poor pay, neglect of mental health, lack of work facilities, poor working conditions, inflation, lack of incentives, insecurity due to economic hardship, among others.

“Although there are different reasons why people migrate, but if the basic ones can be provided, it will take a long time to retain many in the country.

“Society, particularly the government, must learn to recognize and appreciate mental health, because it is as important as physical health and there is no health without mental health.

“That the Federal Government signs the Mental Health Bill before the National Assembly; will go a long way in clearing the ground and creating recognition for mental health in Nigeria.

“The National Mental Health Service Delivery Policy needs to be reviewed, let it be reviewed,” Sheikh said.

YAYA

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