Nigeria’s health sector has suffered more exodus as the General Medical Council which authorizes and maintains the official register of medical workers in the United Kingdom licensed at least 266 Nigerian doctors in June and July, 2022.
This implies that at least three Nigerian doctors were licensed per day in June and July 2022 despite the moves by the Federal Government to end the exit of doctors and health workers in the country amidst worsening brain drain of the practitioners in the country.
A check into the GMC register revealed that the number of Nigeria-trained doctors in the UK presently stands at 9,976.
Currently, Nigeria has the third highest number of foreign doctors working in the UK after India and Pakistan.
The Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria said that Nigeria now has more than 100,000 doctors who have registered with the council.
Worryingly, Nigeria with a population of over 200 million citizens, disclosed that the percentage ratio of doctors to patients still falls less than the World Health Organization’s recommendation of 1:600.
A poll by NOI in 2018 also revealed that 88% of Nigerian doctors are considering work opportunities outside the country, but experts say the figure may be higher due to the rising insecurity and economic crisis.
Other popular destinations for Nigeria-trained doctors include the United States, Canada, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Australia.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) has continued to call on the Federal Government to provide a thriving environment for doctors and health workers to minimize the massive brain drain.
Currently, doctors in Nigeria under the auspices of the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors have given a two-week ultimatum to the government over poor welfare and failure to implement the new hazard allowance rate that was signed in December 2021.
The doctors had gone on strike for almost 60 days in 2021.
While speaking in an interview with Journalist, Dr Alfa Yusuf, said, “Government should declare a state of emergency in the health care sector, address the challenges, improve remuneration and good working conditions and address security issues.”
When asked about the causes of brain drain, Yusuf said, “Poor remuneration, poor working facilities, insecurities including assault on doctors and burnout from overwork, among others.”
lso, the immediate past President of the Medical and Dental Consultants Association of Nigeria, Prof. Ken Ozoilo, said, “It is unfortunate that the government has once again failed to live up to expectations, but this is typical.
“This kind of attitude on the part of the government and its agents feeds the notion that the government does not listen to workers unless they are on strike.
“Predictably, we are going into another round of NARD strikes at a most difficult time and the government is squarely to blame.
“Brain drain will sadly continue and will get worse. There is no measure put in place by the country yet that is capable of stemming the tide. Even the new hazard allowance fails miserably in this way as it is a far cry from the demand of health workers.
“The NARD strike is not inevitable, but it is unlikely that agents of the government responsible will act on time to avert it.”
Efforts to get the Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, proved abortive as calls and messages forwarded to his line remained unanswered as at the time of filing this report.