Akwa Ibom Moves To Tackle ‘Japa’ Of Medical Graduates, Brain Drain

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By; PATRICK TITUS, Uyo

In Akwa Ibom State, it is not going to be business as usual for medical students enjoying government sponsorship abroad to jettison the contract and find greener pastures in their country of training.

This follows the growing number of students absconding after undergoing a training programme facilitated by the state government outside the country. 

Member representing Ibiono Ibom State Constituency in Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, Hon. Moses Essien disclosed this during a chat with journalists in Uyo last weekend.

Hon Essien, who is also the Chairman of the House Committee on Health Services, expressed displeasure over what he described as unhealthy trend in the state, just as government was also putting up measures to stop the trend forthwith.

According to lawmaker, the state government is deeply concerned about the incident and has brought out a policy that would address it.

The state government, Hon Essien added, was also putting up measures to bolster the health sector and reduce the incidents of brain drain. 

While noting that a large chunk of the 2024 budget was earmarked to revamp the health sector, Essien 

said one of his motions on “the need to implement the Akwa Ibom State Health Insurance Agency Law” when executed would also bring a better package to health professionals. 

He said though the State House of Assembly was yet to come up with a legislation to checkmate such, the state government has issued a circular making it mandatory for those undergoing sponsorship to come back and bring their wealth of experience for the development of the state and the health sector in particular.

“In my interactions with the Commissioner for Health and other management of the health sector in the state, I have discovered that they are a lot of persons that were sent out for training abroad, but could not come back, just because they have found a better opportunity in the places they have gone for training.

“As a House of Assembly, we have not yet come out with a legislation to curtail that, but I think the Executive Order is enough to curtail exodus of doctors being sponsored by the state government 

“The State Government has sent out a circular to those undergoing sponsorship for advanced knowledge in their area of discipline, making it mandatory that they must come back and bring their wealth of experience to develop the state and the health sector. 

“Not for you to take the government sponsorship and at the end you abandon the state sponsor of the programme to the detriment of the state and the health sector.

“There are so much the present  government is bringing starting from remuneration and more incentives. It is trying hard to put all those things medical doctors are complaining in place so that they will not be lured to practice outside.”

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