57,000 nurses left Nigeria in five years – NANNM
The President of the National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives, Michael Nnachi, said over 57,000 nurses have migrated from Nigeria for greener pastures abroad within a period of five years spanning from 2017 to 2022.
Nnachi, who disclosed this in an interview with our correspondent, attributed the migration of nurses to poor working conditions, poor remuneration, amidst overwhelming workload.
He said efforts by the federal government to address brain drain in the health sector are moving at a snail’s pace.
“The critical reduction in the workforce of health workers is alarming, and I’m afraid that if nothing is done, the challenges will be enormous in the health sector.
“I’m aware that even as the government is trying to address the issue, because they are also touched, efforts being made are at a snail’s pace. The nurses are leaving in droves. It is very critical because the doctors and nurses are critical to any health facility.
“Looking at the rate they are leaving, the available workforce is dropping, and it is creating a huge workload on the remaining workforce, particularly the nurses, and those who are available are stressed.
“If you’re looking at the numbers, over 57,000 nurses have left over this period, and they are moving out on a weekly basis.
“The figure is from 2017 to date because in 2017, the situation continued and was not noticed, not until a point when some people started complaining about the condition of the service.
“As we speak, some people are preparing in one form or another to leave, either for Canada, the UK, Australia, the Philippines, or Saudi Arabia.”
The NANNM President said for the teeming population of over 200 million Nigerians, there is only one nurse for every 1,660 patients.
“According to the WHO, we have what we call a critical situation or critical state, so there is meant to be one nurse for every four patients. In some situations, you may have one nurse to five patients. Under normal conditions, one may have one nurse for eight or 10 patients.
“The concern is that care has to be qualitative, but as they are leaving, there is an increase in the workload, so if I tell you that it is one nurse to 60 or 80 patients, it might be modest.
“But if you’re looking at the statistics of Nigeria, it is one nurse to 1,660 patients, looking at the population of Nigeria. So, where will the quality care come from?”