Resident doctors say that about 12 of their colleagues leave Nigeria every week to practise overseas.
The president of the Association of Resident Doctors Federal Capital Territory Administration, Abuja chapter, Michael Olarewaju, stated this at a press briefing in Abuja on Monday.
He spoke when the association briefed journalists on activities lined up to mark the 2018 Annual Health Week under the theme, ‘Brain Drain: A Consequence of a Failing Health System’.
The association every November holds the ARD-FCTA Health Week during which the members perform corporate social responsibility to the society, engage in capacity building and strengthen ties with management and affiliates, among a host of other activities.
Mr Olarewaju said that less than 40,000 registered doctors are currently practising in the country of about 190 million population.
He lamented that not only does the majority of Nigerians lack access to quality health care, over 88 per cent of doctors in the country desire to leave for greener pastures overseas.
He cited poor pay, career advancement and insecurity as major reasons behind the mass exodus of doctors from Nigeria.
Mr Olarewaju also noted that the work load of attending to a large number of patients per doctor was becoming unbearable, leading to situations where doctors were overstretched and unable to provide adequate care for patients in dire need of health services.
“Nigeria has about 80,000 doctors fully registered with the Medical and Dental Council, but less than 50 per cent of them currently practise in Nigeria, which has led to a precipitous decrease in the doctor-patient ratio and hence majority of Nigerians do not have access to quality healthcare, thus putting them at the mercy of substandard care from quacks.
“It has been estimated that at least 12 Nigerian doctors leave the shores of this country for greener pastures in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, South Africa and the United Arab Emirates on weekly basis.
“The NOI polls stated that 88 per cent of doctors currently practising in the country wishes to relocate from the country. This is an alarming tide because the country is losing a lot in human and financial resources to other countries,” he said.
The general secretary of the Association, Rowland Aigbovo, said the association believed the problem is solvable if priorities are set right.
He said that the harsh reality still remains that doctors were leaving the FCTA in droves and something must be done to end the trend.