The Presidency Cancels ‘Leave Of Absence,’ Says You Must Resign Appointment Before Seeking Greener Pastures Abroad

The Minister of State for Health, Dr. Tunji Alausa, on Saturday, said that the Federal Government had directed that health workers going abroad to seek greener pastures must henceforth resign their appointments before embarking on such journeys.

Alausa said the era of health workers exiting to other countries in search of better offers after applying for a leave of absence is no longer acceptable.

The minister said that the ban on the leave of absence for health workers emanated from the executive order issued by President Bola Tinubu as part of drastic steps to combat the challenge of brain drain fondly called ‘Japa Syndrome’ confronting the nation’s health sector.

This is just as Alausa also revealed that the FG has commenced the production of manpower in the health sector such that the annual enrolment of nurses which used to be 28,000 is now 68,000 and that by the end of this year, it would have gone up to 120,000.

The minister stated this on Saturday during his visit to the Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital, Aro, Abeokuta, Ogun State.

He said that the President considered the biggest asset of the country to be the people and has not only vowed but has taken proactive actions to ensure the health sector is in good shape so that the health of the citizens won’t suffer.

Speaking on the challenge of manpower shortages across the FG-owned health institutions, Alausa said, “The government is not unmindful of the Japa effect on our manpower in the health sector and the President has ordered for massive production of manpower such that when people go, there will always be replacement.

“It is against this background that we are working intensely on the enrolment of our nurses. What used to be 28,000 is now 68,000 and our intention is to take it to 120,000 by the end of the year, so there will always be abundant skilled manpower to take over from those leaving the job.

“We have equally doubled our enrolment for doctors, dentistry, pharmacists among others

“Again, we didn’t say anyone who wants to move or japa to the UK or Australia to take up appointments there should not go, it is a free world.”

The minister continued, “However, 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 that has been communicated to all the Chief Medical Directors of Federal Government-owned health facilities to implement.

“The problem with the leave of absence is that such a fellow is out there in the UK or Australia working, making money but his name still appears on the payment roll of the government and so to replace him is difficult because he is still being considered as a staff whereas he has left the country.

“So, to solve this problem, the President has directed that health workers going abroad to work should just resign their appointments and not apply for leave of absence. This way, you won’t be blocking others who want to work and of course piling burdens for your colleagues that you left behind.”

Responding to some of the demands of the hospital such as increased funding, infrastructural development, among other welfare packages, Alausa said that the ministry would leave no stone unturned to do all that is necessary to improve the fortunes of the health sector in the country.

Speaking earlier, the Provost and Chief Medical Director of the hospital, Dr. Paul Agboola, lauded the Minister for his selflessness and passion to turn things around for good in the health sector.

The CMD said that as a result of the approval given by the Minister, his administration had started projects such as the Institute of Psychiatric for the hospital which had been in the pipeline for about 40 years, amongst others.

Culled from Punch