PRESIDENT, Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), Dr Uche Ojin- mah, has lamented that Nigeria is going through one of the worst situations of brain drain in its history with 10,296 doctors who obtained their degrees in Nigeria currently practising in the United Kingdom (UK).
He said between January and September 2022, over 1,300 doctors trained in Nigeria moved to the UK, with the country licensing at least 200 Nigerian-trained doctors between August 31, 2022, and September 30, 2022.
Dr Ojinmah, in a media briefing to flag off the 2022 physician’s week in Ibadan on Monday, said the progressive depletion of medical professionals did not even stop during the COVID-19 pandemic but continues to progress in a geometric dimension.
Ojinmah, who spoke though Dr Wale Lasisi, Oyo state’s NMA chairman, stated that overall, 10,296 doctors who obtained their degrees in Nigeria are currently practising in the UK.
He said, “Dispersion of the emigration data for Nigeria-trained doctors to the UK is as follows: 223 in 2015; 279 in 2016; 475 in 2017; 852 in 2018; 1,347 in 2019 and 833 in 2020 despite COVID-19 pandemic and 932 in 2021 during recovery from COVID-19.
“Currently, Nigeria has the third highest number of foreign doctors working in the UK after India and Pakistan.”
He stated that amidst the dwindling human resources for health in Nigeria, diseases like Lassa fever, malaria, Ebola and COVID-19 were emerging as public health threats in the face of worsening non-communicable diseases like diabetes and hypertension and their complications.
Ojinmah declared, “We call on our governments to quickly declare emergency action in Nigeria’s health sector for the sake of her citizens.”
While calling for good leadership and support for candidates that can move the nation forward, he urged that Nigerians stand for equity and progress and ensure their loyalty is only to the country.
Ojinmah asked that the Federal Government should stop foot-dragging on the review of the CONMESS while all state governments paid up on the newly approved hazard allowance for health workers circulated by the government in the last years as well as create the opportunity of a lifetime for emigrating doctors to come back to Nigeria.
On massive flood affecting Bayelsa and other states in Nigeria, he stated that NMA had sent relief materials to Bayelsa State, which was worse hit and encouraged its branches in affected states to roll out medical outreach programmes, and called on the Federal Government to actively initiate measures to avert another flood.