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Nigerians May End Up Depending on Witch Doctors if Medical Brain Drain Continues, Mimiko Warns

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AKURE, Nigeria – Olusegun Mimiko, former Governor of Ondo State, has issued a stark warning: if the current rate of medical professionals leaving Nigeria continues, the country may be forced to depend on traditional medicine practitioners who are mostly herbalists and witch doctors.

Mimiko, himself a medical doctor, voiced his concerns at the induction ceremony for medical students at the University of Medical Sciences in Ondo State on Friday, June 9, 2023.

He highlighted the urgent need for government intervention to stem the steady exodus of trained medical personnel from the country.

According to the Nigeria Medical Association, NMA, only 24,000 actively licensed physicians are available to care for Nigeria’s population of over 200 million due to an ongoing brain drain.

This figure came out six months ago and is believed to be dwindling as more health workers seek better economic opportunities and welfare abroad.

“If we continue at this rate, in another five to ten years, only the ‘babalawos’ [herbalists] will be available to take care of us,” Mimiko warned.

He further noted that the situation is made worse by the fact that many medical professionals, despite benefiting from subsidized education in Nigeria, abandon the country for better opportunities in more developed nations.

Calling it an “emergency,” the former governor urged the government to take decisive steps to discourage medical professionals from leaving Nigeria.

He also argued that countries benefiting from the influx of Nigerian-trained doctors and healthcare workers should contribute to expanding Nigeria’s capacity to train its people.

Mimiko believes that with proper action, the issue could present a “win-win situation” for the nation.

He concluded, “We cannot fold our arms and allow all our best human resources to leave this country.It is like a war situation. But I know one thing for sure: if the government does the necessary things, it can be a win-win situation for us as a nation.”

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