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Japa: FG to double enrolment quota for medical students



Dr Adetunji Alausa

As part of the ongoing effort to curb brain drain in the health sector, the Federal Government is implementing a plan to boost the number of medical and dental doctors from 5,000 to 10,000 in the upcoming academic year by increasing admissions to medical and dental institutions.

Dr. Tunji Alausa, the Minister of State for Health and Social Welfare, revealed this information on Wednesday at the induction ceremony for foreign-trained medical and dental graduates conducted by the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria in Abuja.

Alausa proposed that making the healthcare environment more appealing would serve as a deterrent to the migration of licensed doctors and other healthcare professionals to more developed countries.

He argues that the annual production of just over 3,000 doctors in Nigeria is significantly insufficient, necessitating a doubling of the rate at which health workers are trained

  • “Equally, we shall expand these opportunities to all other health professionals like pharmacists, nurses, physiotherapists, community health extension workers, radiographers, and others. Although, this will be in phases. We shall create room to produce more and excess because globally, there’s a shortage of health manpower, which has been estimated at a shortage of 18 million people,” he stated.

Alausa stated that his ministry’s primary focus remains on advocating for increased funding in the health sector and broadening the value chain to secure additional international grants and funding.

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The health sector has continued to suffer a huge loss in expertise and human capital due to the mass immigration of health workers and medical practitioners to the UK and other European countries for lush opportunities.

This phenomenon is described colloquially as “Japa”.

According to the President of the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors, Dr. Orji Innocent, the sector has lost over 2,000 members in the last two years.

He said a survey conducted last December revealed that over 2,000 members left for greener pastures.

Speaking further, the president claimed that this mass migration is because of the incessant decline in budgetary allocation and funding in the health sector, resulting in a decline in the quality of service as well as the welfare of the workers.

The association urged for a substantial boost in the healthcare sector’s budget, advocating for an annual allocation increase of 15% to enhance the quality of healthcare services.

The communiqué read in part,

  • “The National Executive Council welcomes the committee set up by the Federal Government to mitigate the brain drain in the health sector.
  • “The association urges a speedy conclusion of the task and immediate implementation of their recommendations to improve healthcare service delivery and reduce the emigration of skilled healthcare workers from the country.
  • “NEC calls for increased funding of the healthcare sector in the country, to the tune of 15 per cent annual budgetary allocation in line with the 2001 Abuja Declaration for healthcare financing in Africa and global best practices as well as the digitalization of the healthcare services to improve the quality of healthcare delivery to Nigerian citizens.”

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