By Nse Anthony-Uko
(Sundiata Post) – The poor working conditions in the Nigerian health sector, which includes poor funding of the sector, inadequate facilities, poor remuneration of doctors among others have forced many Nigerian doctors to practice outside the country, particularly the United Kingdom (UK).
About 5,514 Nigerian doctors are presently working in UK and ranking the country as 9th on the list of foreign countries with most doctors practicing in the UK, according to data from the National Health Sector (NHS), a publicly funded national healthcare service for the UK.
Health practitioners attribute this situation to a myriad of factors prominent of which is poor funding of the sector, lack of adequate facilities, poor remuneration of doctors and lack of well thought-out policies from government
Larne Yusuf a medical practitioner based in Lagos said most Nigerian doctors seek work opportunities in United Kingdom, United States of America and other countries.
“In the last couple of years, the country’s health sector has been suffering massive brain drain and has lost a lot of good doctors and nurses who have emigrated. This lingering problem in the country has to be tackled,” said Yusuf.
Doctors in the United Kingdom on average earn five times more than their counterparts in Nigeria BusinessDay has gathered from an analysis of income of doctors of both countries.
This is a key reason for the brain drain in the sector that saw over 300 doctors leave Nigeria to practice in foreign countries in 2016 according to the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA).
Findings show that doctors earn an Average of £40,600 yearly in United Kingdom, according to grassdoor.co.uk, which is about N16 million.
Meanwhile a recent survey carried out by MysalaryScale.com on salary structure of doctors in Nigeria, showed that a medical doctor earns an average salary of N250, 000 per month, equivalent to about N3million per annum. This excludes other financial benefits and opportunity for multiple jobs earnings.
The survey also found out that the salary varies with the years of experience in the field. While an entry level doctor earns an average of N170, 000, an average middle-level medical doctor earns an average of N270, 000.
A recent NOIPolls survey also revealed that the reasons for the looming brain drain in the health sector included challenges such as high taxes and deductions from salary (98 per cent), low work satisfaction (92 per cent), poor salaries and emoluments (91 per cent) and the huge knowledge gap that exists in the medical practice between those abroad and in Nigeria (47 per cent), among others.
The report said: “These were some of the key findings from the survey and we hope these findings would help stimulate conversations amongst stakeholders in the country’s health sector and trigger the much-needed reforms to redesign of a health system that is responsive to the healthcare needs of the nation.”
The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), a professional association of Nigerian doctors and dentists has more than 35,000 members from 36 state branches and from the federal capital territory (FCT). Nigeria needs more than 237,000 medical doctors to meet World Health Organisation (WHO) standard doctor-patient ratio but each year Nigeria’s universities produce less than 3,000 doctors.
By Nse Anthony-Uko