The 58 UK-bound Nigerian medical doctors have been urged to re-consider their decisions, over health and safety concerns, amidst rising cases of coronavirus across the world.
Senior health care workers say this is not the time for doctors to be in a rush to leave the country, “irrespective of the attractive welfare package beckoning abroad.”
They hinged their counselling on what they described as “the multiple risks presented by the pandemic, especially for health workers.”
Recall that Nigeria Immigration Service at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, recently intercepted 58 Nigerian doctors who were travelling to the UK.
The NIS said 56 of the doctors did not have requisite visa for their journey.
It has been observed that before the COVID-19 pandemic, health workers were leaving the country in droves, attributing their action to poor working conditions, lack of job satisfaction, low wage and high tax, among others.
Medical experts urged doctors who wish to leave the country to consider their safety first, rather than the welfare package and opportunities being offered.
A past President, Association of Professional Bodies of Nigeria, Dr Omede Idris, said the COVID-19 pandemic had presented lots of uncertainties globally that require caution before one thinks of leaving the country.
Idris, also a former President, Nigerian Medical Association, said,
“I am so shocked that some doctors are going for greener pastures now. This is the time the whole world is saying, ‘Stay where you are.’
“The COVID-19 situation that we are in now, nobody can predict what will happen the next minute. Whatever greener pastures they want to acquire, they may not be there to enjoy it.
“Those desperate to leave the country should also know that they are going to another nation. Sometimes, what they think they will get may never be as expected when they get there.
“So, let them not be in a rush to leave the country.”
Continuing, Idris said,
“Rome was not built in a day. Those developed countries they are rushing to also had teething problems before they developed to where they are today.
“One is wondering the basis for which they want to leave the country at this crucial time of global pandemic.
“This is not the time to talk about brain drain when countries are shutting their borders because no one knows who is carrying the virus.”
A survey by NOI Polls in 2019 confirmed the prevalence of doctors seeking work opportunities abroad, as it revealed that almost nine in 10 respondents (88 percent) prefer working abroad, especially in the UK and US.
Ninety-eight per cent of the respondents cited high taxes and deductions from their salary as reasons for decision to migrate; while 92 per cent cited low work satisfaction, and another 91 per cent gave poor salary and emoluments as reasons.