Ifeanyi Okowa, governor of Delta state, says Nigeria has the capacity to export healthcare workers. Okowa said the challenge of nurses, midwives and doctors exiting the country has begun to trouble the healthcare system in the country.
The governor said rather than contemplate restricting medical practitioners from moving out of the country, more of them could be trained, and from the pool, enough would remain in the country while some could be exported to needy nations.
The governor spoke on Monday while inaugurating the collegiate system in Delta state’s schools of nursing.
“Nigeria can leverage the massive demand for medical professionals trained in the country by signing bilateral agreements with foreign nations to train and export more of the professionals to those countries,” he said.
“I think that as a nation, if we know where our strength lies, we can do things that can enable us to improve on where our strength lies.
“There is nothing wrong if there is a planned programme by Nigeria to train many more nurses than we need, and we enter into a bilateral relationship with other countries to export some of our nurses, midwives and doctors.
“I am not one of those that will come out to say that we are trying to make laws to stop or restrict the movement of medical personnel out of the country.
“What we need to do is to ensure that there is a planned programme by Nigeria to truly train more than our daily and yearly need and ensure that we are able to enter into strategic alliances with other countries.”
He also commended the ministry of health and management of schools of nursing in the state for their efforts at upgrading the institutions to the collegiate system.
He said such a system could enhance the training of more nurses and other medical workers.
“I believe that the college system that is starting in Delta will encourage this and I hope that we have people who are able to encourage and support you to do this,” he said.
“I believe that we have the capacity to train a lot more nurses than we need at the moment; it just requires a little more resource and focus.”