Mass exodus of Nigerian doctors abroad: The Statistics & Reasons

Very soon, Nigerians will go to a Government hospital and won’t see a Doctor. The health crisis in Nigeria is unprecedented as the mass exodus hits alarming proportions. Already it takes a new patient 2 hours to see a doctor on the average, 3 hours for new patients.

Let’s check the statistics

1. Over 100 doctors have resigned from UCH this year

2. 800 Doctors have resigned from Lagos State hospitals over 2 years. 100 this month alone

3. Kebbi State has been unable to employ a single Doctor in 2 years despite multiple adverts for employment.

4. Over 200 Doctors and nurses have resigned from Ladoke Akintola Teaching Hospital this year

5. Nigerian has 80,000 registered Doctors. More than 50,000 are practicing abroad

6. 92% of Nigerian Doctors in Nigeria are considering finding a job abroad.

7. 70% of Nigerian doctors are making plans to leave for foreign lands and are taking exams to that effect

8. 236 Doctors wrote Primaries for West Africa College of physicians in 2017 to gain admission to Nigerian Teaching Hospitals, 5 years ago over 1000 wrote the same exams. 660 wrote PLAB to practice in the UK over this Primaries exam. Over 1000 have registered for the next PLAB. Across the nation the story is the same. And the scary part is no one seems to be bothered.

9. According to the Nigeria Medical Association, 700 Nigerian doctors leave Nigeria annually in search of better life and greener pasture.

10. Every 6 months, 60 doctors resign from Lagos hospitals.

11.  7 in 10 Nigerian trained doctors are either out of the country or on their way out. Up to 80 per cent of newly graduated doctors are looking outside after graduation.

Consequently, this worsens the doctor-patient ratio. The trend is also applicable to the pharmacists, nurses and other health care providers who reliving this country in droves.

Nigeria was the only African country listed among the 20 top exporters of physicians in 2004, with a loss of 5, 499 doctors up from 1,519 in 1991.

Mass exodus of Nigerian doctors
Nigerian doctors protesting poor renumeration
Credit: Linda Ikeji


Likely Destinations

1. United Kingdom

2. United States

3. Canada

4. Saudi Arabia

5. Qatar

6. Kuwait

7. United Arab Emirates

Why is there mass exodus of Nigerian Doctors abroad? 

Why the brain drain?

1. Poor renumeration in Nigeria

2. Long duration of residency training

3. Lack of space for residency training

4. Insecurity, for example, targeted kidnapping of medical doctors, nurses and other health workers.

5.  Shortage of staff

6. Lack of basic facilities to work with

7. Better life and good schools for children

8. Unemployment, some Nigeria doctors are roaming the streets in search of jobs.

9. Poor welfare package for doctors and other health workers

10. Lack of basic amenities like roads, schools, electricity and so on.

11. Almost non-existent health insurance.

12. Irregular payment of salaries, for example, in LAUTECH, doctors are owed about 8 months salary.

13. Some doctors, especially consultants migrate abroad for further training.

14. Massive corruption in the health sector.

15. Incessant strike actions in our health sector


1. Aghedo Princewill

2. With contributions from the Nigerian Health Blog.




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