A UK-based Nigerian doctor, Dr Harvey Olufunmilayo, has decried the huge number of Nigerian doctors seeking greener pastures abroad.
Olufunmilayo, who practises in Leeds, said about 1,000 Nigerian doctors passed the Plab1 exam in March 2018 to enable them to practice in the UK.
The Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN) had in January 2018 said that there were 4,000 patients to one doctor in Nigeria, describing the trend as unacceptable.
Olufunmilayo, who took to his Twitter handle, explained that four million Nigerian patients would be denied access to a doctor should the 1,000 doctors leave Nigerian shores.
He said, “In March, about 1,500 doctors wrote the Plab1 exam to work in the UK and about 1,000 passed. In a country that 1 doctor cares for about 4,000 patients; losing 1,000 doctors means 4million Nigerians will find it harder to see a doctor. We are playing with fire as a nation.
“Remember this analysis is based solely on the March 2018 Plab Exams alone. The same exam is written twice a year in Nigeria. And with more hardship, more doctors will be writing by November 2018. And we are yet to talk of those going to other countries like the USA or Canada.
“We have a big problem on our hands. There is a big fire burning and everyone is looking away thinking all is well. We largely have under-equipped hospitals with underpaid/overworked staff and overpopulated patients. Now with more health professionals’ exit, what will happen?
“Have we decided that we will wait till our hospitals turn to museums with antique outdated pieces of equipment that has no professional to utilise them for sick and dying patients before we realise the grave danger associated with this continuous exit of medical workers from the country?
“I was having a chat with a younger colleague friend preparing for the exam. She’s part of a WhatsApp group that is already full to the brim – with 256 doctors preparing to take the same exams to leave the country. And she said she knows at least 2 of such full groups. Oh, Lord!
“My people, let’s be clear – doctors are working on their exit on a daily basis. This fire we are ignoring, when it burns, and it will, no one will be spared. Even if you are rich, even if you are powerful, someone you know will fall victim of this same health sector you are destroying.
“And as I stated earlier, 1 Nigerian doctor should take care of 4000 Nigerians. Losing 1,000 doctors (based on the March 2018 Plab UK exams alone) is effectively making it extremely difficult for 4 million Nigerians to see a doctor. How are you in government and comfortable with this?
“And if you are a government official and you are thinking you have the money and/or the means to always take care of yourself or your family in some overseas country if you fall sick, then let me explain to you why that reasoning is retarded and very daft. Because sadly, it really is.
“There are medical calamities that befall a person and requires immediate intervention. If you have a sudden heart attack or a serious stroke or severe sepsis, such an emergency can’t wait for you to get on a private jet. You will be taken to the same hospitals that you ruined.
“I don’t need to mention names but many government officials have also been rushed to the same under-equipped hospitals with underpaid unmotivated staff, and those your colleagues in government died from things that could be easily prevented IF you ever paid any attention to the health sector.”