The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), has blamed the increasing maternal and infant mortality in the country to brain drain in the health sector.

Dr Babatunde Rosiji, the NMA Chairman, Ekiti chapter, made the disclosure in Ado Ekiti, on Monday, at a press conference marking the association’s 2022 Physicians’ Week.

According to him, the menace of brain drain is gradually killing the nation’s health sector.

Rosiji said that about 10,296 doctors now practice in the United Kingdom, making Nigeria having the third highest foreign doctors in that country.

The NMA boss also raised the alarm over increasing maternal and infant mortality in Ekiti, hinging the incidence on the geometric loss of doctors to other facilities and movements to foreign countries.

“Statistics by General Medical Council, which licenses and maintains official register of medical practitioners in UK showed that 200 Nigerian trained doctors were licensed between August 31,2022 to September 30,2022.

“The statistics also showed that about 1,307 doctors trained in Nigeria were licensed in UK as Nigeria continues to battle one of the worst situations of brain drain in history.

“In overall, 10,296 doctors who obtained their degrees in Nigeria currently practice in UK,” he said.

Speaking about the rots in Ekiti health sector, the NMA leader said; “Every secondary health centres and specialists hospitals in Ekiti must have at least nine doctors, but the highest we have is two per hospital.

“We are supposed to have 276 doctors, but we have just 85. How do you expect us not to have high mortality?

“We need about 195 doctors to run the Ekiti State University Teaching Hospital, but we only have 95.

“Why should people blame doctors for the monster the government has created? For the primary, we need 32 but only have 12 and four of them will be retiring soon.

Rosiji expressed regret that four local governments in Ekiti have no doctors to oversee their primary healthcare centres, which he said also contributed to high diseases index in the state.

He appealed to Nigerians to be patriotic in 2023 by voting for a candidate that would rescue the country from the current difficulties, rather than placing high premium on vote buying and other pecuniary gains that could sway their positions wrongly.

“The era of blind loyalty was over. Let us all patiently wait to hear the plans of the presidential candidates for the health sector before pitching our political support for the one with the best health policy”.

The NMA boss urged the state government to implement hazard allowance to medical doctors on its payroll, regretting that Nigerian medical practitioners remained one of the poorly paid globally, and that the trend must change.

He said his members may resort to industrial action, if the state government failed to pay backlog of salaries owed members and implementing payment of other allowances due to them.

Rosiji said NMA in many states branches had offered free medical treatments and despatched relief materials to victims of flooding in Bayelsa and other states.

As part of the activities marking the week, Rosiji stated that the NMA would offer free healthcare services to the residents of Iyin and Ikogosi Ekiti, as part of their corporate social responsibility to the state.