<i>"There has been a lot of delay in the implementation of approval, due to administrative bottlenecks and unnecessary bureaucracy," MDCAN said.</sub>
The <a target="_blank" href="https://www.mdcan.org.ng/">Medical and Dental Consultants Association of Nigeria (MDCAN)</a> has called for the urgent implementation of the approved upward review of the retirement age for health workers in the country.
The association, in a statement issued on Monday and signed by its president, Victor Makanjuola, said this could serve as a short-term measure to bridge the brain drain in the health sector.
Mr Makanjuola said there has been a lot of delay in the implementation of approval, due to administrative bottlenecks.
He said; "The Federal Government through the Honorable Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, announced the approval of the upward review of the retirement age for medical doctors and other health workers some months back.
"However, there has been a lot of delay in the implementation of approval, due to administrative bottleneck and unnecessary bureaucracy."
He noted that its implementation has become an emergency in view of mass exodus of consultants and other health workers to developed countries.
In mid 2021, the Nigerian government reached an agreement with officials in the health sector to review the retirement age of the nation's healthcare workers.
<a target="_blank" href="https://guardian.ng/news/government-raises-hazard-allowances-for-health-workers-may-review-doctors-retirement-age/">As of June 2,2021</a>, the government hinted of a possible increase in the retirement age of doctors and other health workers from 60 to 65 years and 70 years for consultants.
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, had at the time <a target="_blank" href="https://www.thecable.ng/fg-to-raise-retirement-age-of-doctors-health-workers-from-60-to-65/amp">said</a> the decision will be taken to prevent further exodus of health workers from the country.
"We discussed the issue of retirement age for health workers, being that we want to keep our health workers here in Nigeria.
"A lot of people are coming here to poach and take away people we have trained at very great cost," a report on <a target="_blank" href="https://www.thecable.ng/fg-to-raise-retirement-age-of-doctors-health-workers-from-60-to-65/amp">TheCable</a> quoted Mr Ngige as saying.
However, PREMIUM TIMES cannot immediately ascertain if the proposed retirement age was eventually approved by the government.
Meanwhile, in the association's latest statement, Mr Makanjuola said the review of the retirement age has been approved and any delay in the implementation will further disrupt health care services in the country.
He called on the government and by extension the National Council on Establishment (NCE) to "as a matter of urgency give appropriate circular backing for the approval of its immediate implementation."
"This measure will ensure the healthcare workforce is not further depleted, thus hampering service delivery to Nigerian patients.
"Furthermore, training of fresh graduates and resident doctors will be significantly disrupted if these experienced and highly skilled hands are not retained in service," he said.
The issue of brain drain amongst health workers in Nigeria has been a burning issue.
A 2017 survey by the Nigerian Polling organisation (NOIPolls) in partnership with Nigeria Health Watch, revealed that about 88 per cent of medical doctors in Nigeria were seeking work opportunities abroad at the time.
More than 100 medical consultants have also<a target="_blank" href="https://www.premiumtimesng.com/news/headlines/507489-brain-drain-over-100-medical-consultants-left-nigeria-in-the-last-two-years-official.html"> reportedly left the country in the past 24 months</a>.
Mr Makanjuola said the over 100 medical consultants left the services of 17 tertiary health institutions in Nigeria.
He said the mass exodus of medical and dental consultants to more developed countries has brought significant disruptions to Nigeria's health care ecosystem.
MDCAN is a group of medical specialists in different field of medicines and dentistry with the highest qualifications in medical practices.
Their responsibilities include training medical doctors, offering specialist services to patients, and also conducting research in medical fields.
MDCAN has members in government and non-governmental hospitals, tertiary and secondary health facilities across the country.