Over 4,500 Nigerian doctors flee to UK since Buhari became President

The number of doctors leaving Nigeria for the UK annually increased by 478% within four years.

President Muhammadu Buhari's failure to make significant improvements to the Nigerian health sector has been one of the sore points of his administration [Presidency]

4,528 Nigerian medical doctors trained in the country have migrated to the United Kingdom to practice in the past six years.

The country's health sector is infamous for its general decline that has frustrated many trained professionals to seek greener pastures abroad.

The sector is already in dire need of more trained professionals, but that is not stopping many of the current ones from fleeing abroad, with the UK a hotspot.

The Senior Medical Officer of the British General Medical Council, Miranda Newey, said even the operational challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has not decreased the demand for test placements from Nigerian doctors.

"The spike in doctors' migration made us to open a bigger clinical assessment centre to enable us to test more doctors wanting to work in the UK," she told The Punch.

The number of Nigerian doctors that passed the tests to practice in the UK steadily increased from 2015 before a slight drop when the pandemic hit last year.

At peak flight, 1,347 doctors passed in 2019, a 478% hike compared to the 233 doctors that passed in 2015.

The figure dropped to 833 in 2020, but it appears to be rising again with 509 already qualified this year to practice in the UK.

The flight of Nigerian doctors to the UK is ironic because incumbent president, Muhammadu Buhari, has spent over 200 days on medical leave in London since he was inaugurated in 2015.

His critics have repeatedly trashed him for his trips, and his failure to make significant improvements to the Nigerian health sector despite his campaign promises.

The National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) is currently on strike over the government's failure to pay outstanding salary arrears, and residency training funds for two years.

The president, 78, is currently in London on a routine two-week medical check up with his doctors.

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