…As council registers fresh 200
TWO hundred fresh Nigerian medical doctors licensed in April and May alone by the General Medical Council, which licenses and maintains the official register of medical practitioners in the United Kingdom have put the number of Nigerian doctors in the Queen’s land to 8,384.
This is contained in an updated Nigerian Medical Council website.
According to the GMC report, the number of Nigerian trained doctors practicing in the UK rose to 8,384 from 7,870, a difference of 514.
“The average number of Nigerian trained doctors in the UK rose from an average of 1.3 per day in between July and December 2020 to 3.3 per day in April and May 2021,” source quoted.
Findings show that in a space of 24 hours, between June 7 and June 8, 2020, about seven Nigerian trained doctors were licensed by the UK.
Nigeria is reported to have the third highest number of foreign doctors working in the UK after India and Pakistan.
In contrast, Nigeria suffers deficit in number of doctors practicing in the country.
According to The Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria’s report, the total number of registered doctors in Nigeria stands at 74,543 for the country’s estimated 200 million populations; putting the doctor-patient ratio in the country at 1:3,500.
This falls far below the World Health Organisation’s recommendation of 1:600.
A poll by NOI (a reputable public opinion platform) in 2018 also showed that 88 per cent of Nigerian doctors are considering work opportunities abroad, but experts say the figure may be higher due to the rising insecurity and economic crunch.
Findings further reveal that other popular destinations for Nigeria trained doctors include United States, Canada, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Australia.
Speaking to the media, the President of the Nigerian Doctors in the UK, Dr Seun Yusuf, said the number of Nigerian doctors migrating would continue to increase as long as doctors were not well paid and hospitals lacked equipment.
Yusuf said the number of Nigeria trained doctors that migrated from Nigeria to other countries in the last three years would be about 6,000, but some had yet to complete their exams and thus had not been licensed.
“In the last three years, more than 6,000 doctors would have left Nigeria to different places but because the UK is the easiest place, the pathway becomes very easy so the UK gets a higher percentage of Nigerian doctors migrating. Some people are still in the UK taking their exams and they are not included in these statistics.” Yusuf stated.
Reacting to the question why Nigerian doctors chose to practice abroad, Yusuf stated, “The doctors who finish school struggle to get house job placement and they don’t get paid. Imagine attending school for eight years and you don’t get a job on time and when you get it, they don’t pay you?”
Continuing, “You finish from school and go to NYSC and after eight years of medical school, one year of housemanship during NYSC, someone pays you N80,000 when you know you can earn better with that certificate in another country. If Nigeria had enough incentive, work, life balance, people would not leave.”
Contributing, National Association of Resident Doctors President, Dr Okhuaihesuyi Uyilawa said the government was not serious about the welfare of doctors.
“Lawmakers earn millions in allowances but doctors who save lives are given a pittance.
Nigerian doctors are desperate to leave because we have not been paid for five months and we have bills to pay. We lost 19 doctors during COVID-19 and yet no insurance claims have been paid to the families.
“They pay N5,000 hazard allowance to doctors who get infected with COVID-19 or HIV in the course of their job. They pay lawmakers millions for allowances and pay doctors N170,000 per month.” Uyilawa said.