The Nigerian Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists has denounced the alarming rate of brain drain in the country, saying it lost around 906 of its members to human capital flight in 2022 alone.

He also frowned on medical tourism by Nigerians, adding that an estimated N664bn is spent on medical tourism in the country annually.

These were some of the observations made by the association in a statement issued this Saturday at the end of the meeting of its National Executive Council held in Uyo, Akwa Ibom state.

The statement, which was signed by the association’s president, Professor James Damen; National Secretary, Prof. Musa Muhibi; and the National Secretary for Publicity, Mr. Olusoji Billyrose, respectively, attributed the brain drain to poor healthcare sector leadership, corruption, poor pay and toxic work experience and called on the government to address the concerns.

The statement read in part: “NEC sadly watched the flight of human capital which has increased at an alarming rate.

“In 2022 alone, the nation lost around 906 medical laboratory scientists due to the flight of human capital. We therefore call on the government to address these concerns as a futuristic remedy for the disease.”

The association said the N664bn spent annually on medical tourism could have made Nigeria a health tourism destination if the amount was invested in building health infrastructure in the country.

Therefore, it urged the Federal Government, through the Central Bank and the Banco de la Industria, to provide “financial support through Special Intervention Funds for the investment of the private sector for the provision of medical care and especially the construction of medical and high-tech mega labs that can be globally competitive in both technology and testing spectrum.”

The association also asked the National Assembly to speed up the approval of the bill to modify the teaching university hospitals (reconstitution of the board, etc.), which was sponsored by Bamidele Salami.

The National Secretary of Publicity, Medical Laboratory Directors Guild, Ikechukwu Ononuju, in an interview with the punch on Sunday, he said investment in the health sector was necessary to reduce the flight of human capital.