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Doctors moving abroad strains Nigerian healthcare
August 20, 2017, 11:19 am

A new survey released in Abuja last week shows that at least eight out of every 10 doctors currently working in Nigeria are “personally considering work opportunities abroad”.

The survey conducted by NOIPolls in partnership with Nigeria Health Watch, surveyed doctors across the board, in public and private hospitals, as well as in junior-, mid- and senior-levels. Many of the doctors surveyed had over 10 years of experience in medical practice.

America and Britain were found to be top destinations for Nigerian doctors, with up to six in 10 doctors registered to write medical exams in just those two countries; the remaining four were registered for practice exams in Canada, Australia and Dubai.

Major reasons cited by doctors for seeking work abroad included high taxes and deductions from their salary, low work satisfaction, and poor salaries and emoluments. Respondents who participated also cited poor relationship among colleagues, inadequate opportunities for career progress, poor infrastructure, poor treatment by government and insecurity, as reasons forcing them out of the country.

The brain drain is flushing Nigeria’s finest trained doctors to hospitals abroad and straining local healthcare facilities. The country needs 303,333 doctors to cater to its present population, and will require 10,605 new doctors each year to maintain coverage. The brain drain is costing Nigeria specialists as well, with 73 percent of those seeking work abroad being doctors at senior level, with more than a decade of practice.  

"Even if you are patriotic to the country, you have dependents — parents you need to send money home to. They sent you to school, and it isn't adding up," said one doctor. "Why would I stay back when my mates abroad were not even that good back in school? The rigors of training make Nigerian doctors good, but the country is not doing enough to keep those doctors here,” said another disgruntled doctor.

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