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Japa syndrome: Association cries over young doctors leaving ABUTH

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KADUNA- The National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD), Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital (ABUTH) Chapter, has advocated for improved welfare and enhanced remuneration to tackle the alarming rate of brain drain in the health sector.

Dr Badmus Kabir, the Vice-President of the association, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday in Zaria, that brain drain, popularity known as ‘Japa Syndrome’, has been one of the major issues depleting the human resources for health in Nigeria.

Kabir noted with dismay that the depletion of human resources for health as a result of `’Japa Syndrome’ access to healthcare services at tertiary health facilities was becoming a challenge to an average Nigerian.

The union leader noted that two years ago NARD members at the ABUTH branch were far over 500, but the register has depleted to a little above 400 members because of migration.

He explained that the figure excluded the doctors who had exited the residency training or doctors who transferred their services to other health facilities.

He added that he is a Senior Registrar at the Department of Anaesthesia, ABUTH; the department has about 18 senior registrars, five of the 18 have left Nigeria within two years.

“”Two had transferred service from ABUTH to another part of the country where they felt safer and the scenario is worse in some departments where you have only two or three young doctors,’’ he said.

He lamented over the increasing number of young doctors who were undergoing training leaving ABUTH in the last two years against what was obtained in the past when senior doctors were leaving.

He added that ‘the Japa Syndrome’ was extending down the ladder as more younger doctors were in the process of leaving.

Kabir said it was not healthy for the healthcare system; “it is causing serious excess workloads on the doctors across Nigeria and in the last one month NARD lost four members due to excess workload”.

He added that beside the doctors who were experiencing excess workload, the patients who were at the receiving end also suffered a lot.

Kabir explained with reduction of manpower at the health facility, the patient’s first point of contact at teaching hospitals was younger doctors who take cognisance of what is wrong with you and inform their seniors.

 He added that the senior doctors see patients on specialised days; with few doctors now, patients who had non-emergency medical conditions would be booked to see their doctor’s case after four months or thereabout.

The union leader urged the government and relevant stakeholders for improved welfare and enhanced remuneration to tackle the alarming rate of brain drain in the health sector.

He added that looking at it from the perspective that the doctors left their country because they are too ambitious was not correct.

According to him, some of the reasons why doctors left the country are due to poor remuneration, security challenges, job satisfaction, furthering their training to enable them compete with their contemporaries in other climes.

“”Doctors are living on the same salary scale since 2009 in spite of the harsh economic realities in the country, hence the agitation by NARD for an increased in wages,’’ Kabir said.n

Opoor remuneration, the union leader said that over 70 per cent of their members who were on grade level three and four of the consolidated medical salaries did not receive their August salaries.A

Mrs Aisha Abdulkadir, the Public Relations Officer of ABUTH, confirmed the development to NAN.

However, Abdulkadir said that she did not have the detailed figures of nurses and doctors that had left the facility due to the Japan syndrome. (NAN)