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1,197 Nigerian doctors japa to UK since May – Report

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Over 1,197 Nigerian-trained doctors have moved to the UK since May 2023 alone according to a report by PUNCH Online

This surge brings Nigeria closer to surpassing Pakistan and becoming the second-highest source of foreign-trained doctors in the UK, behind only India.

These figures, based on the register of the UK’s General Medical Council, paint a stark picture of Nigeria’s medical brain drain. While the total number of licensed Nigerian doctors in the UK now stands at 12,198, this excludes those trained in other countries.

The influx is spread across various specialties, with 73 in anaesthetics and intensive care, 61 in emergency medicine, and 241 in general medicine. The UK is also attracting 207 for obstetrics and gynecology, 164 for pediatrics, and 135 for surgery.

This exodus has sparked alarm within the Nigerian Medical Association, who fear the nation may soon be forced to import doctors to fill the widening gap. The association points to a steady increase in recent years, with only 233 Nigerian doctors moving to the UK in 2015 compared to 1,347 in 2019.

Professor Emem Bassey, Chairman of the Committee of Chief Medical Directors of Federal Tertiary Hospitals, further highlights the broader crisis facing the health sector. “It’s not just doctors; nurses, lab scientists, physiotherapists – all kinds of health professionals are leaving in droves,” she says.

“Some African countries are also beginning to poach from Nigeria.

“The West Coast is looking for our specialists. So many people are now going to places like Sierra Leone and Gambia and the wages they earn are $3,000 to $4,000. It is about three to four times what they earn back home. So we are beginning to see that people are leaving for other African countries too.

“The health sector is currently undergoing a major crisis in terms of manpower. What we are seeing is that medical specialists, not just doctors, even nurses even more nurses are leaving. Doctors, nurses, laboratory scientists, physiotherapists, radiographers and all manner of health professionals are leaving the country in droves.”

 

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