President of the Nigerian Medical Association, Prof. Innocent Ujah, has given reasons why doctors are leaving Nigeria for other countries.
It is estimated that at least 2,000 medical doctors leave Nigeria yearly and no fewer than 5,407 Nigerian trained doctors are currently working with the British National Health Service in the United Kingdom.
Speaking during an interview on Channels TV on Monday, Ujah listed circumstances found around the work environment, insecurity, among other issues as reasons for exit of Nigerian doctors .
He said, “Many of the reasons are poor work environment, insecurity, poor remuneration and poor equipment to work with. I think these are some of the issues.
“Remuneration and environment in other countries like Europe, America and Saudi Arabia are far better than Nigeria. No doctor would want his children to be out of school, we want to have the best for our children.
“We believe that the appropriate thing to do is to have a conducive environment to work. We have lost over 20 of our doctors to COVID-19.
“Many of our doctors are adopted and kidnapped; once there is insecurity in the land as it is, it becomes very difficult for people to stay.
“The best thing for us to do is to find a solution to this hydra-headed monster. It is not too difficult to reverse but we need commitment, focus and a clear understanding of the need to ensure that the few that we train stay back to render service to our people.
“Over 50 per cent of our doctors are outside the country, we estimate that about 80 thousand Nigerians have been trained as doctors but only about 40 thousand are at home.
“And these surely are not enough and adequate. Even where they are going to, their services are better than our own, they also have more doctors than we have.”
The Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, however, called on President Muhammadu Buhari to stem the brain drain affecting the country in the medical sector.
“The issue of brain drain has been a serious issue to medical practitioners. A lot of Nigerians are going out of the country for many good reasons.
“We believe that the president needs to quickly direct the appropriate agencies and ministries to ensure that we have a roundtable meeting to be able to find out what could be done,” .
The president of the Nigerian medical association, Dr. Francis Faduyile had before now also alluded to the same reasons shared by the NMA President. He noted that a high rate of insecurity, unemployment, low remuneration, bad roads, and poor healthcare system are some of the reasons why doctors are leaving the country in search of greener pastures. He noted that 75,000 Nigerian doctors were registered with the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), but over 33,000 have left the country.
A recent report by the World Health Organisation (WHO) has revealed that for every 10,000 persons in Nigeria, there are four doctors available to treat or attend to them. The World Health Organisation (WHO) puts the doctor:patient ratio at 1:600 standard. However, Nigeria’s doctors to patients ratio of 4:10,000 falls below the global recommendation.