Dr. Ugboaja Speaks on Mass Exodus of Doctors to Other Countries

by NwanyiAbia

In a few days international flights will be opened, awaiting doom for the country’s health sector. The pandemic saw the need for doctors all over the world. Nigerian doctors and other healthcare workers, including nurses and pharmacists, have been leaving, and are going to be leaving the country in droves because of the poor healthcare system and lack of job satisfaction.

The United Kingdom employs, on the average, 12 Nigerian doctors every week. If Nigeria decides to graduate 3000 doctors every year, without the doctors leaving this country, it will take us 25 years to meet the World Health Organization(WHO) estimate of one doctor to 600 persons.

Nigeria has a devastating shortage of healthcare practitioners in the country with only 42,000 doctors available for Nigeria’s population of over 200 million people.
UK and Canada where most Nigerian doctors were migrating to has many doctors for their population, whereas Nigeria is in deficit. Insecurity, poor job satisfaction, low remuneration, unemployment, bad roads, and poor healthcare policies are some of the reasons why Nigerian doctors and other healthcare practitioners are leaving the country for greener pastures abroad. This is a huge deficit in the nation’s health sector due to brain drain as some of the best healthcare practitioners are leaving the country through migration to more favourable countries.

Concerned medical practitioners in high cadres in the country have spoken up about this ill, lending their voice to salvage the situation. One of them is Dr. Joseph Ugboaja the Chairman Medical Advisory Committee Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital.

He described the situation as unfortunate because we don’t even have enough doctors for the country stating that It has a negative implication for healthcare delivery in the country.


According to Dr. Ugboaja, he believes we should be asking ourselves how we got here in the first place.This honest inquiry will reveal both the remote and immediate causes of this unfortunate situation.

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He beckoned on the government to play their role in stopping this exodus of not only doctors but healthcare workers to other countries.Government he said should pay more attention to the health care system and commit more resources towards health care development. The WHO bench mark of 15% of national budget going to Health has never been achieved in Nigeria. Our Health budget hovers around 5% of the total budget which cannot guarantee significant development in the sector. This leaves the doctors frustrated and desire to leave for countries with better amenities and remuneration.

“I’m sure if the Government improves funding for Health, we might experience a drop in the rate at which the doctors leave the country and may, in time, stop it entirely”, he asserted.

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