The Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, says the compulsory five-year service for graduates in medical and dental fields before being granted full license proposed in a bill by the House of Representatives is with good intentions.
He made his position known on Friday in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.
NAN reports that the title of the amendment bill, sponsored by Rep. Ganiyu Johnson, reads: “A Bill for an
Act to Amend the Medical and Dental Practitioners Act, Cap. M379, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.
“It is to mandate any Nigeria-trained Medical or Dental Practitioner to Practice in Nigeria for a minimum of
five years before being granted a full license by the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN).
“It is to make quality health services available to Nigeria; and for Related Matters (HB.2130).”
The bill passed for second reading on April 6.
According to Ehanire, the intention is good because it is talking about curbing the brain drain of doctors.
He said “If I can read the mind of Johnson properly, he wants to be able to keep those who have studied
here a bit longer for some time before they can be free to go.
“If you look at the fact that the fees we pay at our universities, definitely do not make up for the cost
“If you want to know what it costs to train a doctor, go to a private university and know what they pay for school fees.
“That is a benchmark of what it costs but in our public universities, we don’t pay anything near that.
“So, actually, it means that it is subsidized with taxpayers’ money because if the government allows you to get training for about one-tenth or one-twentieth of the cost of the private university, then it means it is subsidized.
“Therefore, I’m sure Ganiyu was; thinking about those in that category who should also give back to the country, having received classy education that is respected outside.
“This is because even the cost of training here is; very small compared to school fees paid in foreign countries to
become a doctor. I think this is the angle the representative was looking at the issue from.”
Ehanire added that it may not necessarily have to be by law because moral understanding is; also
clear if one has received a quality education and then gives back to the sponsor.
“So, I think maybe the same moral issue people have to look at is; whether the bill goes through or not,
but this remains a moral issue”, he said.