In the last six weeks, 162 Nigerian-trained doctors have been licenced to practise in the United Kingdom.
This is according to the General Medical Council of the United Kingdom’s register. The GMC is a public body that keeps the official register of medical practitioners in the United Kingdom.
The number of Nigerian-trained doctors practising in the UK increased from 10,824 to 10,986 in the last 42 days, according to journalists who monitored the GMC website.
This means that from February 2 to March 15, 2023, at least three Nigerian-trained doctors were licenced per day.
In recent years, Nigeria has experienced a worrying brain drain, with many professionals, including doctors, leaving the country for greener pastures.
It was also observed that Nigeria has the third highest number of foreign doctors working in the UK after India (31,979) and Pakistan (18,490).
While the Federal Government claimed that brain drain is not peculiar to Nigeria, the World Health Organisation warned that this could negatively impact the health care system and hinder progress towards achieving universal health coverage and health security.
A 2023 health workforce support and safeguards list report by the WHO showed that Nigeria and 36 other African countries face the most pressing health workforce challenges related to UHC.
The President of the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors, Emeka Orji, said, “There is a need for a review of the salary structure, and the government needs to work with the medical bodies to resolve their lingering concerns.”
Also reacting, the President of the Medical and Dental Consultants’ Association of Nigeria, Dr Victor Makanjuola, said the country needed to produce about 12,000 doctors annually to meet the required number of physicians.
Makanjuola said the disturbing analysis shows that nine out of every 10 medical and dental consultants with less than five years of experience plan to leave the country for greener pastures.