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Last Updated: Tuesday, 15 March, 2005, 14:38 GMT
'Why I want to leave Nigeria's hospitals'
Man being wheeled into a Nigerian hospital
Nigeria's hospitals are under-equipped
The UK's National Health Service has been accused of poaching doctors and nurses from African countries, where they are badly needed and which have invested scarce resources on their training. Here, Nigerian doctor Uche Uruakpa explains why he, too is looking for greener pastures overseas.

The human body fascinates me and I have always wanted to be a doctor. I truly want to be a specialist, but if I stay here I will never reach my potential. Never.

I am now a doctor at a private clinic in Abuja, but I trained at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka in Enugu State. The whole experience was very, very frustrating. The frequent strikes affected us badly and we had to have "crash" programmes to catch up. It put a lot of stress on the lecturers and the students.

We didn't have enough equipment. One student would use it while the rest stood and watched. And often the instruments didn't work anyway. We never had enough practical experience; it was largely theory.

You had to be highly motivated to keep going. By our final year, more than half the students had left.

Medical research

Today very few of my classmates remain in Nigeria. Most have gone to places like the US or the UK or Trinidad and Tobago. Anywhere but Nigeria.

How can a doctor earn $50 a month and live in a village where there is no electricity and pipe borne water, while government officials run around in big cars?
E. Julu Swen, Monrovia, Liberia

Here in Nigeria, everything is dilapidated. We don't have the basic infrastructure to do the job. Everyone wants to get out. All the time I am here, I am making plans to get out.

It's not just about money. I want to specialise, I want to do medical research, I want proper training and I want to enhance my knowledge. I can't get any of that in Nigeria.

Our politicians don't care. When they get sick, they fly overseas. Even if they just need their blood pressure taking.

Nigerian is not lacking the intellectual manpower. It is lacking the political will. If I stay here, I will always have to take a back seat. I will never reach my potential.



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