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The Lagos chapter of the Nigerian Medical Association, NMA, has disclosed that 507 medical doctors practicing in the state relocated to the United Kingdom in less than two years due to poor working conditions in Nigeria.
Dr. Benjamin Olowojebutu, the association’s Chairman stated this while interacting with Punch Health Wise.
He urged the Federal and State governments to tackle the menace of brain drain in the country’s health sector.
The NMA Chairman said that brain drain has become a serious threat in Nigeria noting that medicine may go into extinction in the country if the menace is not promptly addressed as an emergency.
He said, “There is a very big challenge about brain drain. I have said several times that we have to be very deliberate about how we tackle this.
“There is a pull and push syndrome that is affecting doctors leaving Lagos State. Last month alone, we had over 100 doctors who left Nigeria for the UK and about 80 of them were from Lagos State.
“During the COVID-19 in 2020, 81 doctors moved from Lagos to the UK. They had a special plane that came to carry them from the UK. Between March 2020 and October 2022, we lost 507 doctors from Lagos State alone to the UK.
Olowojebutu said there was a need for an emergency assessment and emergency meeting to curtail the problem.
He added, “The nation must address brain drain as an emergency. Who is addressing it? It’s only the doctors that have been talking about it. Which government has come out to talk about it?
“So, for us in Lagos State, it is important as a nation that we address this push and pull syndrome. What are we doing as a nation? There has to be an emergency to sort it out.
“We have to be deliberate about it because if we don’t, medicine will go into extinction.
“Before, we used to have young doctors traveling abroad for greener pastures but now, even the consultants that are supposed to be training the young doctors are leaving the country.”
“There is a lot of dearth of doctors in Nigeria, especially in Lagos State. Some places don’t have specialties anymore because the specialists have left the country at this time.
“So, it is important as a nation that we address this thing wholesomely, the welfare of doctors and their salaries.
“We hope that the government will sit down and look at this as an emergency and solve the problem.”
The British General Medical Council revealed that 10,387 doctors Nigerian-trained doctors migrated to the UK.
Other categories of health workers, asides from doctors are equally relocating abroad.