Cross River commissioner for health, Dr. Inyang Asibong, has identified the migration of the health workforce as a complex and multifaceted issue created by source countries due to poor management, insufficient remuneration, low motivation and uneven performance of health workers.
She made the assertion during the second stakeholders meeting on project “Brain Drain to Brain Gain” organised by African Centre for Global Health and Social Transformation, held at Dannic Hotel, Calabar recently.Asibong, represented by the director of administration in the ministry, Elder Egwu U. Omini, said the issue of international health workforce migration has increasingly become a key focus of attention in the global health agenda as a result of its negative consequences on the performance of already strained health systems in source countries.
According to her, the National Demographic Health Survey (NDHS- 2013) which carried unacceptable health indices of Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR), with 37 live births out of a hundred, requires urgent intervention, adding that the major challenge hindering the country’s quest for Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and attainment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) in the area of health, is the severe widespread Human Resources for Health (HRH) shortage.
The health commissioner hinted that the administration of Prof Ben Ayade is determined to reposition all health training institutions in the state for maximum performance and commended African Centre for Global Health and Social Transformation (ACHEST) for organizing the stakeholders meeting on a project which she said will assist in checking health workers’ migration among countries.
National data officer for World Health Organization’s (WHO) Code of Practice on International Recruitment of Health Personnel, Dr. Tony Udoh, called on the Federal and State governments to address the issues of health workers’ migration through appropriate policy and mutual bilateral relationship with affected countries.
On his part, the chief operating officer of ACHEST, Mr. Robert Odedo, said the project is a culmination of concerns from Africa and some developing countries about the trend of loss of trained health workers moving from Africa to developed countries, a situation which he said needs to be stopped.
Odedo noted that the project which started in May 2015, has so far put in place project implementation structures, undertaken inception-related activities such as mapping of stakeholders, initial engagement of various stakeholders at the State and Federal levels, and most importantly, the acquisition of data on health workforce migration.
“At the state level, we are building capacities for duty bearers and stakeholders to be able to manage data that pertains to the health workforce,” Odedo noted, adding that “the name, ‘From Brain Drain to Brain Gain’ in itself coins the purpose of this project which is to reverse the trend of the loss of trained health workforce, to gain, getting back our trained health workers that have gone to the Diaspora and, perhaps, attracting trained workforce from them.”
Stakeholders at the meeting commended the African Centre for Global Health and Social Transformation for choosing Cross River as a pilot state for the project, and organizing the stakeholders meeting which is aimed at gathering data for both external and internal health workers’ migration.
The meeting witnessed the presentation of work plan, group presentation, as well as questions and answers from participants.
Participants at the just concluded stakeholders meeting on “Brain Drain to Brain Gain” organised by the African Centre for Global Health and Social Transformation held in Calabar recently.