Freetown, SIERRA LEONE – Nigerian doctors are increasingly seeking employment in Sierra Leone, drawn by the promise of significantly higher salaries ranging from $3,000 to $4,000, a stark contrast to their earnings back home. The Chief Medical Director of the University of Uyo Teaching Hospital, Emem Bassey, has raised alarm about the impact of this trend on Nigeria’s healthcare system. With a reported shortage of over 9,000 medical doctors in the country, the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) has expressed concern over the mounting pressure on the healthcare sector.
Bassey highlighted the severity of the workforce issue, citing a mass exodus of medical specialists, including doctors, nurses, laboratory scientists, physiotherapists, radiologists, and other healthcare workers. The West African nations, particularly Sierra Leone, are actively recruiting these professionals, offering wages three to four times higher than what they earn in Nigeria. The challenge of replacing these healthcare experts is compounded by the difficulty in obtaining waivers for recruitment after permissions are granted.
Furthermore, Bassey emphasized the urgency in addressing the situation, noting the complexities in complying with federal character requirements in recruitment due to the pressing need to fill the void left by departing medical professionals. As the migration continues, concerns grow about the sustainability of Nigeria’s healthcare system and the potential long-term impact on the nation’s ability to provide adequate medical services. OG/17/12/2023