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FG Imposes Resignation Requirement For Health Workers Relocating Abroad

... Says Nurse Enrollment Now 120,000 Annually

Daud Olatunji

The Federal Government has mandated that health workers seeking opportunities abroad must resign from their positions before embarking on such journeys. 

Dr. Tunji Alausa, the Minister of State for Health, delivered this directive on Saturday, highlighting a paradigm shift in addressing the challenge of brain drain, colloquially known as the ‘Japa Syndrome,’ within the nation’s health sector.

The minister underscored the government’s determination to curb the trend of health professionals leaving the country for better prospects after applying for leave of absence. 

This policy change has its roots in an executive order issued by President Bola Tinubu as part of a comprehensive strategy to combat the brain drain crisis.

During a visit to the Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital in Abeokuta, Ogun State, Minister Alausa disclosed the government’s proactive measures to address manpower shortages. 

He revealed that the Federal Government has initiated a significant increase in the production of skilled manpower in the health sector. 

The annual enrolment of nurses, which previously stood at 28,000, has now risen to 68,000, with a target of reaching 120,000 by the end of the year.

Alausa emphasized the President’s commitment to ensuring the well-being of citizens by maintaining a robust health sector.

 He acknowledged the challenges of manpower shortages in government-owned health institutions and reiterated the President’s directive for massive production of healthcare professionals to ensure a seamless replacement system.

“We are intensively working on the enrolment of our nurses, doctors, dentists, pharmacists, among others,” stated Alausa.

 He emphasized that the goal is not to prevent health workers from pursuing opportunities abroad but to streamline the process by ensuring resignations instead of leaves of absence.

The Minister of State for Health acknowledged the difficulties posed by health workers abroad still being on the government’s payroll, hindering replacements and causing unnecessary burdens for colleagues. 

He said ““again, we didn’t say anyone who wants to move or japa to the UK or Australia to take up appointments there should not go, it is a free world.

 “However, you cannot eat your cake and have it. If you are going, just resign your appointments with the Federal Government, rather than applying for leave of absence, that is the Presidential executive order that has been communicated to all the Chief Medical Directors of Federal Government-owned health facilities to implement.

“The problem with the leave of absence is that such a fellow is out there in the UK or Australia working, making money but his name still appears on the payment roll of the government and so to replace him is difficult because he is still being considered as a staff whereas he has left the country.

“So, to solve this problem, the President has directed that health workers going abroad to work should just resign their appointments and not apply for leave of absence. This way, you won’t be blocking others who want to work and of course piling burdens for your colleagues that you left behind.”

Responding to demands from healthcare institutions, Alausa assured that the Ministry would spare no effort to address issues such as increased funding, infrastructural development, and welfare packages. 

Dr. Paul Agboola, the Provost and Chief Medical Director of the Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital, commended the Minister’s dedication to improving the health sector. 

Projects, including the long-awaited Institute of Psychiatric, have been initiated under the Minister’s approval, marking a positive step towards revitalizing the nation’s healthcare system.

Meanwhile,federal government has announced a substantial increase in the annual enrollment of nurses, addressing concerns over the ‘Japa Syndrome’ – health workers leaving for better opportunities abroad.

Previously standing at 28,000, the enrollment has surged to 68,000, with plans to reach 120,000 by the end of 2024, according to the Minister of State for Health, Dr. Tunji Alausa.

Dr. Alausa said “The President has ordered massive production of manpower, ensuring there is always a replacement when health workers leave their positions.”

The minister also shared plans to double enrollment for doctors, dentists, pharmacists, and other crucial roles.

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