The Federal Government has implemented a restriction on granting leave of absence to healthcare workers who are moving overseas.

Dr Tunji Alausa, Minister of State for Health, made this known on Saturday in Abeokuta, Ogun State.

The Minister said the decision was taken to combat the challenge of brain drain fondly called ‘Japa Syndrome’ confronting the health sector.

Dr. Alausa who spoke during his visit to the Neuro Psychiatric Hospital, Aro, said the directive was contained in the Executive Order issued by President Bola Tinubu.

The Minister said that health workers going abroad to seek for greener pastures must “henceforth resign their appointment before embarking on such journeys”.

Dr. Alausa also disclosed that the federal government had commenced aggressive recruitment of manpower in the health sector.

According to him, the yearly intake of nurses, which previously stood at around 28,000, has risen to 68,000, with projections to reach 120,000 by year-end. He noted that President Tinubu recognizes the populace as the nation’s most valuable asset and is committed to implementing proactive measures to enhance the healthcare sector for their welfare.

Addressing the issue of manpower shortages in the health sector, Alausa stated that the President has directed a significant recruitment drive to address the gap.

“In addition to the massive engagement of Nurses, we have equally doubled our enrollment for Doctors, Dentistry and Pharmacists.

“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 elaborated that the difficulty lay in the fact that numerous health professionals who requested leave of absence would go abroad to practice and earn income, while still being listed on the government’s payroll.

“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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