Increasing cases of depression, sudden deaths of doctors linked to workload are reported weekly, says president of doctors association
Over 5,000 medical doctors in Nigeria have migrated to the UK, the US, United Arab Emirates and other African countries due to inadequate compensation and unfavorable working conditions, an association representative said Friday.
Dr. Emeka Orji, President of the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors, revealed in an interview with Anadolu that doctors in the country frequently resort to strikes to advocate for increased staffing and improved salaries, aiming to prevent the potential collapse of Nigeria’s healthcare sector.
He said there are approximately 12,000 resident doctors in the country and his association used to have 16,000 members five years ago.
“We have lost between 5,000 to 7,000 of doctors to brain drain within five years,” he told Anadolu.
He said the association has commenced discussion with the Federal Government after the suspension of the doctors’ strike on Aug. 11.
Orji however expressed deep concern on the impact of the brain drain on the country’s health sector and Nigerians.
“It has led to increasing waiting time for patients in hospitals to see their doctors, multiple cancelations of surgeries and appointments due to inadequate medical doctors,” he explained.
He said the association has been receiving weekly reports of doctors suffering from depression and instances of deaths associated with excessive workloads.
He, however, said the association is still computing the statistics of the affected doctors.
Many Nigerians said they spend hours waiting at the clinic before seeing the doctors while some said their initial appointments were cancelled after hours of waiting.
“My appointment was canceled after waiting for three hours at the University of Ibadan Teaching Hospital (UCH) on Tuesday,” Abayomi Salako told Anadolu on phone.
Meanwhile, Minister of Health and Social Welfare Prof Ali Pate has also expressed concern about the brain drain in the health sector and medical tourism, promising to tackle the challenge.
“When you fly from Addis Ababa to India, you see a lot of people going for medical tourism; it is not a thing we should see as normal. We should do something about it and improve our health outcomes,” he said.
Scores of Nigerian political class and elites, including former President Muhammadu Buhari, frequently travel overseas especially UK, US, Germany, Saudi Arabia and Egypt for medical treatment.