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Nigerian govt bans leave of absence for health professionals going abroad



In a bid to discourage health professionals from leaving the country in what is popularly called the ‘Japa Syndrome,’ the Nigerian government has placed a blanket ban on leave of absence for workers in the health sector.

The ban which was disclosed on Saturday by the Minister of State for Health, Tunji Alausa, during a visit to the Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital, Aro, Abeokuta, Ogun State, states that any health worker who desires to travel abroad to seek greener pastures must resign his or her appointment before embarking on such journeys.

Alausa who said the directive was contained in an Executive Order issued by President Bola Tinubu during the week, was taken to curb the challenge of brain drain confronting the health sector.

The minister added that the government had also resolved to embark on an aggressive recruitment of workers, especially nurses, to bridge the gap created by those who have left the country.

He stated that President Tinubu acknowledged the people as the country’s biggest asset and vowed to take proactive measures to improve the health sector for their benefit.

“In addition to the massive engagement of nurses, we have equally doubled our enrollment for doctors, dentists and pharmacists,” the minister said.

READ ALSO:Health workers counsel Tinubu against privatizing public hospitals

“However, the government has not prohibited anyone who wants to move to the UK or Australia to take up appointments not to do so.

“It is a free world. But, you cannot eat your cake and have it. If you are going, just resign your appointments with the federal government, rather than applying for leave of absence.

“That is the Presidential Executive Order which has been communicated to all the Chief Medical Directors of Federal Government owned health facilities to implement,” he said.

The minister said a situation where an health worker would apply for study leave, travel abroad to practice and still be on the payroll of the government would no longer be tolerated.

“So, to resolve this problem, the president has directed that any health worker going abroad to work should just resign his or her appointment. This way, you won’t be blocking others who want to work,” he said

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