Nigerian doctors have cited salary deductions and low work satisfaction as some of the reasons for seeking better jobs overseas.
House officers, corps members, medical and senior medical officer, residents, registrars, consultants and medical directors, among others said poor salaries and emoluments as well as the huge knowledge gap were other reasons for their decisions.
In a study by the Nigerian Polling Organisation, in partnership with the Nigeria Health Watch, 88 per cent of the medical practitioners indicated interest in jobs outside the country and had registered to write foreign medical examinations.
Findings from the study showed that 30 per cent had enrolled for the Professional and Linguistic Assessments Board examination in the United Kingdom, another 30 per cent for the United States Medical Licensing Examination while 15 per cent had registered for the Medical Council of Canada Evaluating Examination.
It added that about 15 per cent were preparing to write the Australian Medical Council examination while 10 per cent had enrolled to qualify for the Dubai Health Authority certification.
The NOIPolls said, “These were some of the key findings from the survey and we hope these findings would help stimulate conversations among stakeholders in the country’s health sector and trigger much needed reforms to redesign a health system that is responsive to the healthcare needs of the nation.
“This survey also seeks to sound an alarm of a looming brain drain in the country’s health sector if nothing is done urgently to curb this rising trend of emigration of healthcare practitioners – physicians, nurses, pharmacist, and laboratory scientists amongst others.
“Prevalent reasons for emigrating include better facilities and work environment, higher remuneration, career progression and professional advancement, and better quality of life. Majority of survey respondents (87 per cent) believe government is unconcerned about mitigating the challenges facing medical doctors in Nigeria.”
In the report, some of the doctors described the harsh working conditions during their internship while others explained how they worked day after day, without relief, for two months as house officers.
Some doctors complained about how house officers and junior doctors were maltreated and verbally abused in the presence of patients, making patients lose confidence in their ability.
In the report, house officers and junior doctors were said to have supervised the most number of beds on the floor; yet instead of being encouraged they get bullied and openly chided for every wrong decision made when their attending resident doctors were not available.
The report said that the brain drain in the health sector was worrisome because despite government’s efforts at making medical education in Nigeria inexpensive by funding teaching hospitals, the trained doctors look for better opportunities outside the country.