Vice-President of Nigeria, Prof Yemi Osibajo has commended Physicians in Diaspora for contributing ‘’very considerably to healthcare in Nigeria.’’
The VP made this known during a meeting with a delegation from the US-based Association of Nigerian Physicians in the Americas, ANPA, and a team of Nigerian doctors from diaspora.
‘’Almost at every turn, they are contributing in terms of services in rural areas, medical teams everywhere providing all sorts of care, and this has gone on for years and years,” the Vice President said.
“I commend you for that and to say that we are seeing a good number of physicians returning home to set up and establish businesses here.”
He praised “practically everyone, whether you worked abroad or you worked here (in Nigeria)’’ for sharing the burden and desire to see the country work ‘’by harnessing all of the existing potentials and really transform the nation.’’
In the meeting which discussed the challenges in the health sector, Prof. Osibajo urged Nigerians to put in effort into ensuring that the country works ‘’not just for those who can afford it, but for the vast majority of our people who are disempowered.”
Addressing some of the concerns of the delegation with respect to healthcare financing, he insists that due to the population of the nation "we can’t depend on budget alone because we don’t have enough resources.’’
The VP, who is also the Chairman of the Health Sector Reform Committee, affirmed that the committee is doing a lot to ensure general access to healthcare is made easier. He is hopeful that this particular healthcare reform would ‘’bring in more order into the way that we do things, particularly between the Federal Government and the states.”
Responding to Prof. Osibajo, the Secretary to the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, who led the delegation, Engr. Dr Sule Yakubu Bassi said the body is “happy to deal with both Nigerian doctors in the diaspora and those who are returning to set up practices here in Nigeria thereby turning the brain drain to brain gain."
On the other hand, President of the Association of Nigerian Physicians in the Americas, ANPA, Dr Christopher Okunseri added that the organisation have a vision of a ‘’healthier Nigeria.’’
‘’We have an ANPA week and have three key areas of activities; first is the medical mission, second is advocacy and third is engaging with colleagues here in Nigeria in what is recognised as Continuing Professional Development, ” he explained.
Dr Modupe Elebute, who spoke on behalf of doctors who have returned home and established private practice in Nigeria says though it has been ‘’tough and difficult’’, the doctors are happy about the ‘’impact that we are able to make on the access to healthcare on the patients we are seeing.’