A bill to limit the increasing emigration of doctors from the country has passed second reading in the House of Representatives on Thursday.
The bill was titled “A Bill for an Act to Amend the Medical and Dental Practitioners Act, Cap. M379, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 to mandate any Nigeria-trained Medical or Dental Practitioner to Practise in Nigeria for a Minimum of Five (5) before being granted a full licence by the Council in order to make Quality health Services available to Nigeria; and for Related Matters (HB.2130).”
It was sponsored by Ganiyu Johnson, a member representing Oshodi Isolo II Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives.
Johnson who read the bill in the House argued that the bill was expedient in order to curtail the worrying trend of doctors leaving the country after getting their licences, therefore putting a strain on the already understaffed healthcare system.
He said it was only fair that the country gains from the doctors whose trainings have been subsidised with taxpayers money, to undergo mandatory service for five years before they take their skills abroad.
While the bill was supported by majority of lawmakers albeit with calls for review of other options for the proposed law, another member, Uzoma Nkem-Abonta, however opposed the bill saying it is tantamount to enslavement for doctors to be prevented from seeking employment abroad until after five years.
Civil societies, the Nigeria Medical Association, NMA, and other medical bodies are however, yet to speak on the proposed law.