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Put your safety into consideration, senior physicians warn 58 UK-bound doctors

Nigerian medical doctors wishing to leave the country for overseas jobs may have to reconsider their stance, owing to the rising COVID-19 pandemic globally, their senior colleagues have said.

Senior health care workers say this is not the time for doctors to be in a rush to leave the country, “irrespective of the attractive welfare package beckoning abroad.”

They hinged their counselling on what they described as “the multiple risks presented by the pandemic, especially for health workers.”

Recall that Nigeria Immigration Service at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, recently intercepted 58 Nigerian doctors who were travelling to the UK.

The NIS said 56 of the doctors did not have requisite visa for their journey.

It has been observed that before the COVID-19 pandemic, health workers were leaving the country in droves, attributing their action to poor working conditions, lack of job satisfaction, low wage and high tax, among others.

In separate interviews with PUNCH HealthWise on the issue, medical experts urged doctors who wish to leave the country to consider their safety first, rather than the welfare package and opportunities being offered.

A past President, Association of Professional Bodies of Nigeria, Dr. Omede Idris, said the COVID-19 pandemic had presented lots of uncertainties globally that require caution before one thinks of leaving the country.

Idris, also a former President, Nigerian Medical Association, said, “I am so shocked that some doctors are going for greener pastures now. 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. Whatever greener pastures they want to acquire, they may not be there to enjoy it.

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