Nigeria has the third highest number of foreign medical doctors working in the United Kingdom after India and Pakistan. This has made the doctors-to-patient ratio in Nigeria to be 1:10,000 as against the WHO recommendation of 1:1,000. Nigeria lost over 9,000 medical doctors to the United Kingdom, Canada, and the United States of America between 2016 and 2018. A total of 727 medical doctors trained in Nigeria relocated to the United Kingdom alone in 6 months, between December 2021 and May 2022.
As a result, the participants produced the following recommendations for effective policy action.
- An urgent need for Nigeria to meet the 15% allocation of the total domestic budget to the health sector as pledged by Nigeria and African countries in 2001. This is to ensure adequate public investment in the industry.
- Government should improve healthcare infrastructure and provide adequate incentives for healthcare professionals irrespective of their core professional background.
- Government alone cannot fund health care entirely. This has been demonstrated with 6% of the national average allocation to the health sector in 2022, and effort should be made to establish the ‘health bank’ to fund the private sector.
- Underutilization of the healthcare fund and return to treasury creates severe gaps in the health infrastructural defects, making the health profession more difficult, frustrating, and discouraging due to access to basic medical facilities. Thus, efforts should be made to strengthen the internal mechanism so that funds released are utilized accordingly.
The event was held on the 19th of October 2022 at the Frazer hotel, Abuja, Nigeria