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Nigeria losing about a dozen doctors to the UK every week

This article is more than 6 years old

Nigerian doctors are abandoning their country in droves, a former Commonwealth secretary-general said.

Emeka Anyaoku, who led the organisation between 1990 and 2000, was reported as saying that more than 4,765 Nigerian doctors were now working in the United Kingdom.

Africa Check contacted him for the source of his data, but he has not yet responded. (Note: We will update this report when he does.)

10% rise in less than a year

When Africa Check looked at the working conditions of Nigerian doctors last year, we found the exact same number of doctors were registered to practice in the UK as at 3 July 2017.

These doctors had attained their primary medical qualification in Nigeria. They are listed in an online register maintained by the General Medical Council, which contains more than 280,000 doctors currently.

The council is by law responsible for registering doctors and setting professional standards for all doctors working in the UK. Its register now lists 5,250 Nigerian doctors (as at 25 April 2018) - a 10% rise in less than one year or an average of 12 every week.

Notably more Nigerian doctors on list since 2016

The council’s database shows the number of Nigerian doctors licensed to practise in the UK has been on the rise. The first year for which data is listed - 2006 - shows 2,692 Nigerian doctors.

Between 2010 and 2015, some 998 Nigerian doctors were added to the register, or an average of about 200 doctors every year.

In 2016, a total of 245 doctors registered in the UK. The number sharply rose to 439 last year, taking the number of doctors to 5,060.  

Doctors in Nigeria are ‘frustrated’

The increase in Nigerian doctors migrating reflects the poor working conditions and low remuneration in the country, John Onyebueze, a former president of the National Association of Resident Doctors, told Africa Check.

“The last three years have been particularly bad for the health sector. There has been poor funding and general neglect,” Onyebueze said. “Doctors in Nigeria are frustrated because hospitals lack equipment.”

A 2017 survey showed that the UK, US and Canada are the top destinations for Nigerian doctors, with South Africa the top destination in Africa. - Allwell Okpi (30/04/2018)


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