At least 266 Nigerian doctors received licenses from the General Medical Council, which issues them and keeps the official record of medical professionals in the United Kingdom, The PUNCH has learned.
The implication is that despite efforts by the Federal Government to block the emigration of physicians and other health professionals from the nation amid a rising brain drain of professionals in the nation, at least three Nigerian doctors were licensed each day in June and July 2022.
The GMC registration has been continuously monitored by our correspondent, who has noted that there are currently 9,976 doctors in the UK with medical training from Nigeria.
Other doctors of Nigerian descent who did not have their medical education in Nigeria are not included in the statistic.
Following India and Pakistan, Nigeria currently has the third-highest number of foreign doctors working in the UK.
However, there is a physician shortage in the nation.
Over 100,000 doctors have now enrolled with the Medical and Dental Body of Nigeria, according to the council.
Concerningly, Nigeria, which has a population of over 200 million people, shows that the country’s doctor-to-patient ratio is still below the recommended level of 1:600.
According to a NOI survey conducted in 2018, 88 percent of Nigerian doctors are investigating employment options abroad. However, analysts believe the number may actually be higher given the country’s escalating insecurity and economic hardship.
United States, Canada, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Australia are among the other prominent destinations for medical professionals with medical training from Nigeria.
According to The PUNCH, the Federal Government has been urged by the Nigerian Medical Association to provide a positive atmosphere for medical professionals in order to stop the enormous brain drain.
Under the leadership of the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors, doctors in Nigeria have given the government a two-week deadline to improve welfare and implement the new hazard allowance rate that was agreed upon in December 2021.
In 2021, the doctors went on strike for about 60 days.
Dr. Alfa Yusuf, the NARD’s publicity secretary, stated in an interview with The PUNCH, “Government should declare a state of emergency on 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 burn out from over work, among others.”
Also, 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 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 strike 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 wise 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 government responsible will act on time to avert it.”