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Japa: 16000 doctors left Nigeria in five years – Minister

The Federal Government on Sunday disclosed that the phenomenon of brain drain, often referred to as ‘Japa Syndrome’, has deprived Nigeria of its top talent in the health sector, with no fewer than 16,000 doctors leaving the country in search of better opportunities abroad


The Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Prof Ali Pate, disclosed this during an appearance on Channels TV’s Politics Today on Sunday.

Pate lamented that Nigeria has witnessed a generation of young doctors, health workers, tech entrepreneurs, and various professionals abandoning the country for better opportunities abroad.

His words: “In the last five years, the country lost about 15,000 to 16,000 doctors to the Japa syndrome, while about 17,000 had been transferred,” he said.

“There are about 300,000 health professionals working in Nigeria today in all cadres. I am talking about doctors, nurses, midwives, pharmacists, laboratory scientists, and others. We did an assessment and discovered we have 85,000 to 90,000 registered Nigerian doctors.

“Not all of them are in the country. Some are in the diaspora, especially in the US and UK. But there are 55,000 licenced doctors in the country.

“The issue overall, in terms of health professionals, is that they are not enough. They are insufficient in terms of the skill mix. Can you believe most of the highly skilled professional doctors are in Lagos, Abuja, and a few urban centres? There is a huge distribution issue.

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