On March 14, 2019 about 6,244 Nigerian medical doctors will write UK PLAB 1 exam. That exam is the first step on the journey to emigrate to United Kingdom. Though data is not maintained by Nigeria (UK certainly has the numbers), Nigeria has about 5,000 medical doctors working in UK. In South Africa, we have also more than 5,000 medical doctors working there. Australia has its share, and Canada is enjoying a boom!
If you look at it from another angle, Nigeria is simply subsidizing UK healthcare system (and others) since medical education in Nigeria is heavily subsidized by government. I estimate that it costs Nigerian government $100,000 to train a medical doctor in Nigeria, through subsidizes, and as soon as the doctors are trained, the nation loses them to UK and Canada.
This emigration is not happening as a result of over-capacity in supply – it is largely an economic immigration. Government has since neglected doctors. In Abia State, some doctors have not been paid for months. Under that challenging working environment, these extremely brilliant people leave the nation for better opportunities.
Our government must set up a task force to ensure the conditions of service of our doctors improve. A healthy nation is a wealthy one. We cannot afford to lose these doctors as the impacts are huge: many rural clinics and general hospitals in remote local governments have closed because of lack of doctors. This fight affects every Nigerian.
Comment #1. Maybe the only workable solution is for Nigerian government to make deals with the countries the doctors are emigrating to, by having part of their salaries repatriated; since it’s illegal to stop people from emigrating. The cost of education here is too cheap, but it’s very easy to argue that the sector is in ‘comatose’ or ‘nothing to write home about’, yet its products are good enough to work in developed nations; what a super irony!
The argument of better remuneration may no longer hold water, because if we really want to be sincere, the current remuneration is not justified by the productivity outputs in most of the government owned hospitals. We see these things, and there are cabals in every sector in Nigeria.
The government will never have enough money to meet all demands, so in order not to keep losing in all fronts, it’s either the cost of education is appropriately priced, or the beneficiaries that emigrated must make a mandatory repatriation of part their earnings in any country they are; so that the government will continue to train others to join them as well. Almost all the citizens of Nigeria are helping in finishing Nigeria off, and yet we keep pointing fingers at the ‘leaders’. Everyone is culpable here!
Comment #2. So this is the irony of the Nigerian working class, and particularly southern Nigerians. While Indian doctors are moving into Nigeria for opportunities, Nigerian doctors are looking elsewhere in UK, Australia and Canada. By the way it’s not like the productivity of these Nigerian doctors are that awesome or humanly. Good riddance….
Until Nigerians learn that Nation building is neither one man’s job (Government) nor another person’s responsibility, but a commitment to progress by all stakeholders, this emigration paranoia will see no end.Hopefully from a population of 200 million Nigerians UK, Canada, US accommodate 100 million or may 180 million Nigerians. Then it will hold water that indeed, emigration is a substitute for Nation building.
Again this brings to the front burner, the question of superiority of the white man’s sapient and whether indeed blacks or Africans really do matter.