The Presidency has disclosed that President Bola Tinubu is deeply troubled by the ongoing exodus of health workers from Nigeria and is actively engaged in efforts to reverse the trend. The revelation was made by Salma Anas, the Special Adviser to the President on Public Health Matters, during the 2023 Annual Conference of the Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists in Abuja on Monday.
Anas conveyed Tinubu’s concerns regarding the ‘japa syndrome,’ a term used to describe the migration of skilled professionals, particularly health workers, seeking better opportunities abroad. According to Anas, this challenge has persisted from previous administrations, prompting Tinubu to undertake measures aimed at addressing the root causes.
Speaking at the conference, Anas underscored the President’s commitment to combatting the ‘japa syndrome’ and ensuring the retention of medical experts within the country. She highlighted the multifaceted approach being adopted, emphasizing the importance of creating an environment that motivates health workers to stay.
“President Bola Tinubu is worried about the ‘japa syndrome’ which we inherited from previous administrations for obvious reasons. Part of our commitment is that we want to reverse that ugly trend and ensure that we sustain and retain our medical experts within the country through several interventions and measures,” stated Anas.
The Presidential aide outlined key aspects of the administration’s strategy, including regular payment of salaries and allowances for health sector workers. Additionally, efforts are underway to enhance working conditions and facilities, particularly at the primary level of healthcare, through the provision of state-of-the-art medical facilities.
Anas emphasized that the government’s proactive measures are aimed at motivating health workers and addressing the underlying factors contributing to the ‘japa syndrome.‘ The goal is to create a sustainable healthcare workforce in Nigeria, promoting the country’s overall well-being.
The proposed interventions reflect a broader strategy to fortify and enhance Nigeria’s healthcare system.