Two-Thirds of Nigerian Doctors Practice Abroad – NMA

Only one in three registered Nigerian doctors practices in the country, with the other two-thirds migrating abroad, president of the Nigerian Medical Association has said.

Dr. Osahon Enabulele told Daily Trust in Abuja yesterday that most of the two-thirds who leave the country end up practicing medicine in foreign countries while some of them switch professions.

He said of the “71,740 doctors registered with Medical and Dental Council, about 27,000 are practising in Nigeria while others are practising outside the shores of this country.

“Up to 7,000 Nigerian doctors combined work in British and the American public health sectors, while some have left the medical profession on account of better working conditions.”

Nigeria suffers chronic shortage of doctors, having one doctor to every 6,296 Nigerians, which is far short of the World Health Organisation (WHO) standard of one doctor to 600 patients.

Experts say Nigeria needs at least 283,333 doctors for its 170 million population to meet the global standard.

NMA president Enabulele said migration of doctors to other countries is just one of the challenges to the profession, as internal brain drain is also being experienced at home.

He said insecurity in some states in the North as well as in other areas has forced medical personnel to abandon their posts for more secure places.

“The spate of kidnapping of medical personnel has not helped matters. Our members, apart from working under difficult conditions, have to worry about their safety too,” he said.

He added that the crisis of human resource for health “is very real in Nigeria… . You have less people rendering care. The few we have working in the facilities are challenged.”

He said because of inadequate personnel, most doctors are over worked and poorly paid. “Can you imagine one doctor seeing over 70 patients in a day? It’s too much; a doctor is supposed to at least cater for 20-30 patients to give his best.”

“The law of diminishing returns occurs, and the rest that come may not have the best of treatment, which will not augur well for the doctor or the patient,” he added.

A report earlier this month, quoting British National Health Service (NHS) documents, said 3,936 Nigerian doctors practice in the United Kingdom.

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