German government has reached agreement with the Federal Ministry of Health to offer financial and technical assistance towards improving the country’s healthcare delivery system. Germany’s Minister of Health, Jens Spahn, said that both countries had discussed on how to partner in several areas, including health, vocational training and agriculture. The minister said that already five hospitals were to be given technical support to have a ‘train the trainer’ concept and have a cooperation between the hospitals.
Spahn who spoke to journalists shortly after a breakfast meeting with Nigeria’s Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, and other top government officials from Germany said there were already many areas where Germany and Nigeria had strong and good cooperation and we will go on and deepen it. He said: “We really do appreciate the strong partnership between our two countries and the cooperation that we have in many areas. We discussed the eradication of polio where we do cooperate and we want to reach out worldwide. That is something countries need to engage and we are making financial contributions to help get it done, he said.
According to Spahn, there are already five hospitals in Nigeria that are supported by the German ministry of health under the initiative of ‘train the trainer’ concept whereby the hospitals have a cooperation between each other. In the area of assistance in eradication of diseases, Spahn said: “We hope to promote this to make it very practical in general in fighting diseases, especially infectious diseases through our centres for disease control, German Robert Core institute, and the National Centre for Disease Control. Funding in the area of polio is around 30 million Euros. However, there is a new agreement to be concluded between Germany and Nigeria in areas of health, general vocational training, and agriculture,” he said.
On his part, Ehanire said the federal government was set to sign a new agreement with the German government, one that will see a facelift in the vibrancy and the quality of health care delivery in the country. He said the country will be seeking the support of Germany in areas of patient transportation, e-health, and mobile-health in enhancing the health system in Nigeria and service delivery. “We are in talks with the German government in areas of public health, technical cooperation, and areas of improvement of the health system where we need their expertise and experience to be able to get progress in our own health system and Nigerian economy in general,” he said.
Ehanire also said that the German government will be providing financial support in many areas; not only in health but in agriculture and education, particularly in vocational education, adding that “where we need to be able to improve the small and medium enterprises sector, and to reduce the migration wave that is going on between Africa and Europe”. Regarding the worrisome issue of brain drain, Ehanire explained that it is unfortunate because it takes a lot of money for the government to train these doctors and nurses. He said: “When we lose them, it is like losing money to Europe and America. We are trying to reverse that by offering more opportunities here. The lack of opportunities is a driving factor, and also the fact that there is much higher remuneration in Europe and America than here.
“We also need some kind of reverse compensation. That is why we have requested that Germany send to us experts, particularly in surgery, oncology, and so on, who are going to volunteer in Nigeria to help strengthen service delivery and the health sector. So we are expecting that this will find a good response and we are able to get high experts from Europe, particularly Germany (even though we have doctors flowing to Europe), to come over here to help us with our patients care and service delivery,” he added.
If I may ask; what is actually Brain Drain?