As a nationwide strike by the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) enters its seventh week, data from the official register of medical practitioners in the United Kingdom indicate that at least 353 Nigerian doctors have been registered to work in the United Kingdom in the last 100 days.
The General Medical Council, UK has between June 10, 2021, and September 20, 2021, licensed at least 353 Nigerian-trained doctors.
The statistics also indicated that about 862 Nigeria-trained doctors were licensed in the UK between July 24, 2020 and September 21, 2021in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic. In total, 8, 737 doctors who obtained their degrees in Nigeria currently work in the UK.
A recent meeting between the Nigerian Government and striking members of the National Association of Resident Doctors was deadlocked. Members of NARD refused to sign the Memorandum of Understanding during a meeting they had with the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige.
President of the National Association of Resident Doctors, Dr. Uyilawa Okhuaihesuyi said “our members did not receive their August salaries…a hungry doctor is a dangerous doctor.”
He further stated that there is hardly anyone can do to stem the exodus of Physicians from the country, if the FG doesn’t do the needful.
Further investigations show that the number of doctors migrating to Saudi Arabia might even be more than those moving to the UK. The rate of migration might double in the coming weeks since doctors were poorly renumerated.
Vice-president of the National Association of Resident Doctors Dr. Julian Ojebo also stated that “If 353 Nigerian doctors have been licensed in the last 100 days, I am sure the figure will double within the next one month. The strike has opened the eyes to the doctors that Nigeria does not care about them.
“I am sure the statistics for those migrating to Saudi Arabia would be higher. I have always said it that remuneration is usually the trigger for migration. It is now worse today due to insecurity and the lack of political will by government appointees to address the issues affecting the health sector.
“I can tell you categorically that some of the issues we are fighting for are matters that should have been addressed since 2014 and we are still protesting in 2021. Like we have always said, whatever you earn in Nigeria, you stand the opportunity of earning three times that amount with better working conditions.”
A survey in 2020 showed that four out of five Nigerian doctors were considering work opportunities overseas. The figure may be higher now due to the rising security challenges and economic downturn.
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