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Japa: FG bans leave of absence for health workers, increases Nurses’ Recruitment to 120,000



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The Federal Government has imposed a restriction on leave of absence for healthcare professionals seeking to move overseas.

Dr. Tunji Alausa, the Minister of State for Health, announced on Saturday in Abeokuta that health workers intending to move abroad for better opportunities must resign their positions before they can leave.

The Minister, during his visit to the Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital in Aro, mentioned that President Bola Tinubu’s Executive Order includes this directive.

He stated that this action was adopted to counteract the phenomenon of brain drain, colloquially known as ‘Japa Syndrome,’ in the health sector.

Furthermore, he stated that the yearly enrollment of nurses, which was previously around 28,000, has risen to 68,000 and is expected to reach 120,000 by year-end.

According to him, President Tinubu has acknowledged the populace as the country’s most valuable asset and promised to implement proactive measures to better the health sector for their advantage.

Alausa noted that in response to the health sector’s manpower shortage, the President has commanded a significant recruitment effort to address the shortfall.

“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, 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,” he said.

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The minister explained that the challenge had been that many health professionals who applied for leave of absence would travel outside the country to practice and make money, yet their names would still be on the payroll of government.

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

“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.

Also, responding to demands on increased funding, infrastructural development and welfare packages for health workers,  Alausa assured that his ministry would leave no stone unturned to improve the fortunes of the health sector in the country.

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