The minister of health, Osagie Ehanire, has warned Nigerian doctors of the dangers of migrating to other countries.
Mr Ehanire, while responding to questions at the bi-weekly Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 briefing on Monday, said unlike Nigeria, the United Kingdom do not pay hazard allowance to health workers.
“I think we are one of the few countries giving hazard allowance. This UK where they are going, there is no hazard allowance, they don’t give doctors hazard allowance but you just get your salary.
“They say it is part of your job and that is what you are trained for. They don’t pay you anything but here apart from your salary we try to add something to it with the hope that you will stay,” he said.
Last month, the federal government released N4.5 billion for the payment of hazard allowance of doctors across the country for the months of April and May.
Mr Ehanire’s statement is in response to the attempt by about 58 doctors to travel to the United Kingdom a week ago.
The doctors, who had received provisional employment in the UK, were intercepted by the Nigeria Immigration Service at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos because they had no visas.
Nigerian doctors routinely migrate to U.S, Canada, Saudi Arabia, the UK and many other nations across the globe in search of better pay and working conditions.
It is estimated that at least 12 Nigerian doctors leave the shores of this country weekly to practice overseas.
Mr Ehanire said the challenges are not peculiar to Nigeria alone as doctors were also migrating from the UK to other countries.
“Even in the UK they are losing doctors to other countries so they think there is a movement but I think we have to look at our own situation the best way we can,” he said.
READ ALSO: COVID-19: Doctors strike may cause loss of lives – Health Minister
He, however, said doctors willing to leave the country must have their visas before they will be allowed to depart.
“With regards to the 58 doctors, we were all surprised to hear that they were at the airport and it was irregular in that many of them did not have visas.
“I don’t know what evidence you have whether they have left the country but no one should leave the country without a visa,” he said.
The minister urged Nigerians who became doctors through subsidised education and scholarship to remain in the country and give back to their communities.
This, he said, remains an obligation that should take precedence above financial consideration.
“Those who were trained through scholarship or whose training was subsidised and have jobs here actually have a moral responsibility to give back.
“Nigerian doctors in the UK, the US and Europe who apply to come here every year and serve even though they weren’t trained here or at the state’s expense,” he said.