While the nation is battling to save its economy from a further dip in its fortunes as the Nigeria economy for the first time in three years suffered a major setback. The Nigerian economy was recorded to have shrunk in the second quarter of the Gross Domestic Product by 6.10 per cent. The Federal government of Nigeria will have to employ more drastic measure to avert another major crisis which is heading its way in the nation’s health sector as a large number of doctors are set to exit the country once the ban on international flights is lifted this week.
Based on the observations and findings from the data provided by the United Kingdom’s Council, it was observed that the numbers of Nigerian Doctors migrating to the United Kingdom increased by almost on hundred between July and August despite the restriction on international flights.
It was revealed that after the re-opening of the British High Commission a month ago, a large numbers of Nigerian Doctors had obtained visas and had left even though the restriction on international flights had not been lifted as international flights is expected to resume in the country on Saturday.
It will be recalled that the Nigerian Immigration Service had in July prevented 58 Nigerian doctors from leaving the shores of the country for the United Kingdom.
Recently, as the world prepares for Post Covid realities; the United Kingdom introduced a Health and Care Visa Policy which makes it easier affordable and faster for healthcare professionals to move to the United Kingdom.
It was revealed in an interview conducted on one of the 58 Nigerian Doctors who were prevented from leaving Nigeria for the United Kingdom, he stated that, he does not know the numbers of people among them who has left the country, but he is currently living in the United Kingdom.
Adding to this, the First Vice-President of the National Association of Resident Doctors, Dr Julian Ojebo revealed that about 4000 doctors might leave Nigeria between the months of August to the end of the year. She explained that the poor treatment of doctors and the unfavorable working conditions they are been made to face in Nigeria made migration almost inevitable. According to her, ‘A lot of resident doctor are leaving. They have all got jobs in Saudi. The only thing stopping them is the Covid-19 and the flight ban… We are going to have over 4,000 doctors leaving now and December. She added that the situation in Nigeria is so bad as many of the Nigerian doctors are leaving the shores of Nigeria for other African states which many will consider to be way smaller than Nigerian in terms of economical wits.
It is no new feature within the Nigerian nation to seeing professionals across various sectors leaving the country for nations that pays more for their services, the incessant strike actions within the Nigerian health sector is enough prove that doctors in Nigeria are finding the working condition within the Nigerian nation quite unfavorable for them to operate. Inadequate health facilities, the inadequate numbers of doctors in the Nigerian hospitals and health clinic, inability of the government to fully pay its health workers without owing them and many other challenges been faced by the Nigerian doctors.
The federal government of Nigeria must ensure that this looming tragedy is averted else the consequences may turn out to be disastrous. The world is currently battling the onslaught of the covid-19 and many of the nations of the world are prioritizing their health sector, putting in various infrastructures to ensure the qualitative working of the health workers. There is already a major strain on the world health sector and Nigeria is not left out of this. If there is any time that the Nigerian Government needs to take good care of the welfare of its health workers, there has never been a time better than this.
The demands of the Nigerian doctors must be critically look into and must be provided, the Nigerian doctors are protesting inadequate personal protective equipment, poor remuneration, shortage of doctors, lack of adequate infrastructure, consumables and non-payment of life insurance for the doctors. These are the basic things needed by doctors to facilitate an effective working, the Federal government must ensure that as part of its efforts to revamp its primary health care sector across the nation, it must ensure that its doctors are well treated else we find ourselves in a ugly situation of saying goodbyes to the best of our medical personnel in Nigeria.
By Marcus Amudipe