BBC investigation on Tuesday uncovered an unethical work schedule by which private British healthcare institutions have allegedly subjected Nigerian doctors in the country to work. 

The publication quoted the affected doctors making claims of “being exploited” and “being overworked to the point they might be putting the lives of the client at risk.”

In response to these claims, the British Medical Association (BMA) described the situation as “shocking” adding that the health sector needs to bring the culprits within the NHS working practices.

State of play 
The World Health Organization (WHO) has limited the active recruitment of doctors and nurses from developing countries like Nigeria which have low doctor-population ratios or low medical personnel in general. WHO named 47 countries in such a category, with African countries occupying most of the list. 

Due to this categorization, the UK government, in particular, warns British medical recruiters against relocating Nigerian doctors to the country. 

Why are Nigerian doctors relocating 
Statistics state that the past two years have witnessed Nigeria lose over 9000 doctors to relocation. In March 2022, the Executive Director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Faisal Shuaib stated that only four doctors in Nigeria attend to about 10,000 patients. 

This figure falls short of the United Nations’ recommendation of 1 doctor to 600 persons. The overwhelming nature of the task Nigerian doctors are dealing with has resulted in a brain drain of medical personnel in the health sector. Hence, their relocation out of the country. 

  • Other reasons for the relocation of Doctors in Nigeria include poor remuneration, lack of job satisfaction and the security threat in the country. 

Looking forward 
To address the number of doctors leaving Nigeria, the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) urged the federal government to address the demands of medical personnel in the country. 

The many demands include “payment of the new hazard allowances for medical doctors, payment of skipping arrears for 2014 to 2016 and the review of the consolidated medical salary structure (CONMESS) in line with the agreed terms,” amongst many others.

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