Ganiyu Johnson, a legislator from Lagos State who represents Oshodi/Isolo Federal Constituency II in the House of Representatives, declared he intended to introduce legislation to prevent pharmacists and nurses from leaving the nation.
This comes just a week after the Green Chamber passed the second reading of the bill he sponsored mandating that medical and dentistry graduates serve a five-year mandatory national service before receiving a full license to practice.
The legislation is 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 years before being granted a full licence by the council to make quality health services available to Nigeria; and for related matters.’
Speaking on a TV programme Ganiyu said the proposed bill was borne out of his passion for the healthcare sector.
“For me, I think we are in the right direction. The reason being that we cannot continue to watch Nigerians die. We have over 200 million people in this country facing very few doctors and with these few doctors, there’s always capital flight every year, so (it is) the reasonable thing to do, as much as I agree that we need to improve their welfare packages which through my motion, I canvassed for that; There was a motion that I raised that we need to improve on their welfare packages.
“We need to upgrade and maintain some health facilities such as the primary health centres, we should upgrade some of them to general hospital standards, then we should also maintain and upgrade some of our general hospitals to specialist hospitals, then we should also maintain and upgrade some of our specialist hospitals to research institutes, by doing that, we are creating jobs, openings for the doctors,” he said.
Defending the bill, he said the five-year proposal was inclusive of doctors’ housemanship, and the youth service year, thereby encouraging them to become specialists in the country.
Speaking further, he said, “There is another bill coming up on nurses, and another one for the pharmacists. I’m going to read that very soon. That is why I said this is just the first phase and it is a short-term measure, it is not a permanent solution.
“It is a stop-gap, short-term measure for us to take stock of what we have and whether it is going to solve the problem or not, it is a different thing, but by the time we are able to mitigate against this using this approach, I know with time, it is going to be a win-win for the doctors and the country as a whole.”