This article tagged Brain Drain In The Nigerian Healthcare Sector – The Way Forward is written by to create awareness on how the Federal Government can possibly solve this endemic of brain drain in the Nigerian Healthcare Sector.


Brain drain literally means the departure of educated or professional people from one country, economic sector, or field to another country usually for better pay, working and living conditions.

Medically, brain drain means the migration of a Medical Practitioner from his country of origin or country he or she studied at to other countries for better pay or living conditions, working facilities and specialization.

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The issue of brain drain striking the Nigerian Health Sector cannot be underestimated as the rate at which brain drain is plunging into the nation’s Healthcare sector is very alarming.

The brain drain issue requires crucial attention because of its adverse effects on the Nigerian healthcare system (HCS) for which indirectly impacts population health outcomes and creates greater inequity among vulnerable citizens in Nigeria.

Though braindrain is a global crisis, but the rate of occurrence in Nigeria is high. 

The most affected healthcare profession brainwashed by brain drain in Nigeria are the doctors. According to an estimation, not fewer than 1,000 medical doctors leave Nigeria yearly. The mass exit of medical doctors is as a result of poor funding of the health sector, low salary rate, inadequate equipments or facilities, stagnation of medical careers and above all, better working conditions and environments.

According to statistics, there are about 72,000+ doctors registered with the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN) and over half practise outside the country.

Another main factor propelling the rate of brain drain in Nigeria is the incessant strike action by medical practitioners . The government is always in conflict with the Nigerian Medical Association, over working conditions.

The Medical union argues that government officials fail to stick to agreements, leading to industrial strike action.

For example, there was a case that happened in a teaching hospital in Nigeria. At the time, Doctors and Federal Government had a disagreement and the doctors set out on strike. During that time, there was a case of a student of a said university in Nigeria who was rushed to the hospital as an emergency during the striking period and unfortunately, she ended up dying because there was no doctor to attend to her because of the strike.

The brain drain issue has made Nigerians to travel abroad for healthcare services. The citizens have lost faith in the country’s healthcare system. Not minding the cost of getting treated outside Nigeria, elite citizens do travel out to get quality medical services in advance countries. To this end, what will the poor masses do? They have no where to go to. Our doctors are not well equipped with medical equipments and facilities to ease the load on them. How will our doctors work well when the working conditions are not favorable.


There are ways or means that should be deployed to tackle the brain drain issue in the Nigerian Health sector.

The Nigerian Government should provide more funds, emoluments and incentives for medical practitioners. They should invest more in the Nigerian Health Sector. This will encourage Nigerian doctors to work hard and provide better medical services to their patients.

The Government should provide the health sector a wide range and up-to-date facilities that will facilitate a worthwhile working experience. Also the provision of equipments and periodic maintenence of these equipments will also be a necessity.

Good working conditions and environments should be made available to the health practitioners. They should be made to feel safe and comfortable while working.

Interest free loan should be made available to the heath practitioners at different levels of specialization. This will enable them run medical research and projects that can as well be of value to the heathcare system.

Also the Government should look into the residency training quota. It may take a longer time for a doctor to go for residency training and this issue tends to discourage the doctor and still constitutes a major driving power of brain draining. This is as a result of limited quota of doctors that can take part in the residency training here in Nigeria.  The Federal Government should also create a conducive environment and support for specialists in different areas of the health sector.


If all of the above means are deployed, this will really go a long way to discourage brain drain in the Nigerian Health Sector. The health sector will start to brain gain and eventually, the Nigerian Health Sector will be great again.



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