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BRAIN DRAIN: Bayelsa Gov Diri makes passionate call to health workers in wake of personal tragedy



Douye Diri

A personal tragedy has fueled Governor Douye Diri of Bayelsa State’s call for urgent action against the crippling brain drain afflicting Nigeria’s health sector.

Speaking at a memorial service for his late wife’s sister, Victoria Ali, on Friday, Diri expressed deep sadness over her loss, attributing it in part to what he perceived as “negligence” by medical personnel.

A statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Daniel Alabrah, quoted him as lamenting that in this age and time, someone could die of appendicitis.

He said, “The death of Mrs Ali is a reminder that the brain drain syndrome in our health sector is a serious challenge that is negatively affecting our country. Doctors usually take the oath to save lives and I appeal to them to show more commitment to their duty.

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“Let me advise our medical professionals. Some deaths are avoidable and this is one. At this age and time, people should not die of appendicitis.

“It is for this reason we have resuscitated the diagnostic centre. The biggest problem we have is diagnosis. I want Bayelsa to be a medical tourism hub. So we must get our acts right. As a government, we are very concerned and we must sit up.”

The Governor’s stark message transcended his personal grief, becoming a poignant critique of the wider trend of healthcare professionals emigrating for greener pastures abroad.

He lamented the brain drain’s detrimental impact on Nigeria’s healthcare system, leaving many, particularly in underserved areas, struggling to access proper medical care.

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