NIGERIAN doctors on the verge of leaving the country in response to the growing demand for their services abroad as a result of the coronavirus pandemic have been warned to think again as they may be putting themselves at risk with such moves.
Over recent weeks, there has been an increase in the number of Nigerian health practitioners looking to leave the country as they are being offered lucrative remunerative packages abroad. Countries like the UK and US have eased their visa and immigration restrictions for foreigners as they struggle to cope with the after-effects of the pandemic that have left them short of qualified health staff.
Last month, Nigeria Immigration Service officials at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos, intercepted 58 Nigerian doctors who were travelling to the UK. However, senior health care workers have warned this is not the time for doctors to be in a rush to leave the Nigeria, irrespective of the attractive welfare package beckoning abroad.
Dr Omede Idris, a past president of the Association of Professional Bodies of Nigeria, cautioned the Covid-19 pandemic had presented lots of uncertainties globally that require caution before one thinks of leaving the country. He warned about what he described as the multiple risks presented by the pandemic, especially for health workers.
Dr Idris said: “I am so shocked that some doctors are going for greener pastures now, as 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, so 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 and 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.”
Nigerian health workers are looking to leave the country in droves, attributing their action to poor working conditions, a lack of job satisfaction, low wages and high tax, among other complaints. Senior medical experts, however, have urged doctors to consider their safety first, rather than the welfare package and opportunities being offered.