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Japa: Nigeria now has 1 doctor to 4,000 patients, College of Surgeons laments

June 21, 2023

The International College of Surgeons, Nigerian Section, has raised the alarm over the massive exodus of Nigerian doctors to the UK for greener pastures.

It estimated the number of Nigerian doctors who left the country for the UK in the last six years to be around 6,221, adding that Nigeria now has a ratio of 1 doctor to over 4,000 patients contrary to the World Health Organisation’s standard of 1 doctor to 600 patients.

The body raised these issues in a communique jointly signed by its president, Professor Akanimo Essiet and secretary general, Professor Lucky Onotai, after the college’s 56th Annual General Meeting and Scientific Conference held in Lagos over the weekend.

“The ‘Japa’ phenomenon has drastically reduced our healthcare workforce. Studies show that about 87 per cent of our workforce are dissatisfied and wish to emigrate to greener pastures. Before 2022, we had a ratio of 1 doctor to 4,000 patients whereas the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommended standard is one doctor to 600 patients.

“Evidence shows that the gap widens and the number of registered Nigerian doctors in the UK rose from 4,765 in 2017 to 10,986 in 2023. This meant that 6,221 doctors were lost to the UK in the past six years. This suggests that over 40 million Nigerians will find it harder to see a doctor,” the communique reads in part.

Increased economic hardship and insecurity has led to massive migration of citizens out of Nigeria for greener pasture, a development popularly termed Japa, a Yoruba slang that means to run away or escape, in search of better opportunities.

Immediate past health minister Joseph Ekumankama, in August 2022, lamented brain drain in the Nigerian health sector.

(Peoples Gazette)

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