Nigeria’s inclusion on UK red list won’t stop doctors from migrating – NARD

THE Vice President of the National Association of Residents Doctors (NARD) Dr Nnamdi Nd-Ezuma has said Nigeria’s inclusion on the United Kingdom (UK) red list won’t stop Nigerian doctors from migrating abroad.

Ezuma made this known while speaking during a Twitter Space themed: ‘Brain Drain and Nigeria’s Health Sector: Issues Arising’, organised by The ICIR on Wednesday, April 12.

He noted that the development has nothing to do with the anti-migration bill introduced by the House of Representatives. 

According to him, the World Health Organization (WHO) has standards that need to be followed by countries who will be poaching from smaller countries.

He said: “There may be a barrage of reasons why the UK had placed us on their red list. But one of the things that comes to mind is that there’s what we call international poaching. The WHO has also given a standard to the number and the ratio of a doctor to the population. 

“The bigger countries, if they are lacking, can easily do that (reach out) to countries they can easily take people from. So there’s a standard that still has to be maintained. And you see when you’re exceeding that standard, the WHO is bound to cry out and signal to that activity.”

The NARD vice president added, “If I am not mistaken, on a statistic collated by National Association of Residents Doctors, in the first eight months of a year, we had almost a thousand five hundred people that had left. I think that was last year. To be specific they are doctors.”

He added that the ‘bigger’ countries have a limit of which they can take from less developed countries.

“If those bigger countries continue, it actually breaks that agreement with WHO standard. I can’t categorically say that the idea of putting Nigeria on a red list was because of some activities up there. What comes to mind first of all is that because you have the capacity, you still have the limit to how much you can poach from this country and once you get to that limit a red flag should be raised.”

    Asked if the recent development by the UK will put Nigerian doctors planning to travel abroad at a disadvantage, Ezuma explained that doctors can leave for US, Australia and other parts of the world, including African countries.

    “Let me give you an example, the doctors in the UK are leaving for Australia. It’s not only the UK that doctors want to go to. Obviously, doctors also want to move to Australia, US. In fact, the Middle East is waiting, they come to the country and recruit. So it’s (red list) not going to stop the migration.

    “In those days when we did house job, and anytime you’re paid house job money, you’re using it to see how you can set up yourself and start up something just in case you don’t get the job but now what the house officers do with their money is to register for exams. Nobody is concerned about setting up anything again. Once they spend that one year in Nigeria, doing their housemanship they are trying to raise enough funds to write exams, if it’s not enough they spend an extra year doing a local job or something but the essence is just to gather enough money that takes you out of the country.

    “So at the end of the day, UK is not the only place that people go, in fact some other African countries are even advertising, not too far ago, there was an Africa country, I think it was Kenya or so with very mouthwatering salary and you will now wonder what’s happening in this country of over 200 million people with so much resources, with so much capacity. It’s appalling.”

    Usman Mustapha is a solution journalist with International Centre for Investigative Reporting. You can easily reach him via: [email protected]. He tweets @UsmanMustapha_M

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