The United Kingdom has placed Nigeria on the red list of countries that should not be actively targeted for recruitment by health and social care employers.
In March, the WHO published the safeguards list comprising 55 countries including Nigeria struggling with a shortage of health workers, allowing the United Kingdom to come to a decision following the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) projection of a global shortage of 10 million health care workers to achieve universal health coverage in low- and lower-middle-income countries by 2030.
Recall that the federal government had expressed concern over the rate health workers in the country move to other parts of the group, especially the UK, in search of greener pastures.
Only recently, the National Assembly has started tinkering with a bill to come up with a law to forbid doctors trained in the country from traveling abroad in search of greener pastures until after at least five years of service in Nigeria.
The bill is, however, generating so much opposition from medical personnel and professional groups, including Nigeria Medical Association, NMA.
The United Kingdom government said Nigeria and other countries on the red list should not be actively targeted for recruitment by health and social care employers unless there was a government-to-government agreement
According to the information obtained from the website of the UK government, titled ‘Code of Practice for the international recruitment of Health and social care personnel in England,’ country identification follows the methodology contained in the 10-year review of relevance and effectiveness of the WHO global code of practice on the International Recruitment of Health Personnel.
“Consistent with the WHO Global Code of Practice principles and articles, and as explicitly called for by the WHO Global Code of Practice 10-year review, the listed countries should be prioritized for health personnel development and health system-related support, provided with safeguards that discourage active international recruitment of health personnel
“Countries on the list should not be actively targeted for recruitment by health and social care employers, recruitment organizations, agencies, collaborations, or contracting bodies unless there is a government-to-government agreement in place to allow managed recruitment undertaken strictly in compliance with the terms of that agreement.
“Countries on the WHO Health Workforce Support and Safeguards list are graded red in the code. If a government-to-government agreement is put in place between a partner country, which restricts recruiting organizations to the terms of the agreement, the country is added to the amber list,” the document read.
It said if a country was not on the red or amber list, then it was green.
Recall that in 2021, the UK suspended the recruitment of healthcare workers from Nigeria and 46 other countries, noting that the increasing scale of health and social care worker migration from low and lower-middle-income countries threatens the achievement of their nation’s health and social care goals.
Nigeria has the third highest number of foreign doctors working in the UK after India, and Pakistan.
The countries placed on the red list of ‘No active recruitment’ in alphabetical order are Afghanistan, Angola, Bangladesh, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, Kiribati, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Lesotho, Liberia.
Other countries are Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Federated States of Micronesia, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Rwanda, Samoa, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, United Republic of Tanzania, Timor-Leste, Togo, Tuvalu, Uganda, Vanuatu, Republic of Yemen, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.