30 Things Nigerian Doctors, Medical Student Should know about Migration

@DrJohnAfam- A good number of Nigerian products in the Medical & health sector are resident in various nations abroad, in the search for greener pastures. We expect that a whole lot more would follow suit, with the current trend being exhibited.

Nigerian Doctor & Anaesthetists, Dr. John Afam, has the following to say about “Doctors & Migration”:

  1. Not everyone can , not everyone should. Not everyone is better off Abroad.
  2. If your plan is to “leave”. Just to leave the country and Practice Medicine outside. The UK is your best bet. The US is much more expensive and longer
  3. It is possible to get into training in the UK. Infact, it might be easier than matching in the US. Know the Options and start working towards it.
  4. If you are in Residency in Nigeria, it is a “Plus” when you are relocating.
  5. IT IS LONELY IN THE ABROAD. Know this early and establish networks and support systems
  6. There are pathways that incorporate the Training/ Experience you receive here granting you opportunities to a better pay/position
  7. You can start the USMLE path from Medical School
  8. UK experience opens up a few other options. If you are uncertain about your long term goals, Start with this.
  9. 2 years work experience in the UK makes you eligible to work in Australia. Pay is better there
  10. Consider Family when making decisions. The journey is LONG
  11. If your goal is to Practice, Canada should be a distant option. If you want to relocate however especially with Family, you should consider it
  12. There are a LOT of Non Clinical Roles for Medical Doctors Abroad. Don’t Box Yourself. Develop your side hustle too
  13. Staying in Nigeria and doing a Residency program is a VALID option. It has the lowest barrier to entry.
  14. Doctors in the UK earn “less” than you think. It really isn’t a great place to “make” Money
  15. Quick Cash? Consider the Middle East. Do your research though.
  16. You will probably fail IELTS the first time. Register for it now.
  17. Write Primaries if you have the Funds. It’s a good backup
  18. Even if you save all your HouseJob Salary, it wouldn’t be enough for the Cheapest Pathway (UK). Its not Cheap.
    You need money!
  19. Make informed decisions. Seek a Second and a Third opinion. People would advise you based on their experiences is quite different from yours.
  20. Make plans to come back. Most people later want to but they have severed all ties. Keep your options open
  21. DO NYSC!
  22. No matter your Pathway, ensure you have a Backup. It will almost never go as planned and this backup will help.
  23. There are more Doctors in China than you think. It isn’t a bad option
  24. Be Flexible about your choice of specialty abroad. Be smart. Know the numbers
  25. There are Doctors in Nigeria who make more from Practice than Doctors outside Nigeria.
  26. Know the Citizenship criteria for the countries you are considering. Add that to the factors guiding your Decision
  27. Doctors in Australia earn the most. Great place to Live too
  28. NONE of the Pathways is easy. The easiest option is actually staying in Naij .Be ready to put in Work
  29. The cons of living as an immigrant abroad? Doctors experience them too. You ain’t special
  30. For some, leaving would be a mistake. For some others, its the best option

The truth is we should have more conversations around these things. We should ask whys and hows and what next.

It is not enough to leave because “the country is bad” or “better pay”.

The journey is much more INDIVIDUAL than it looks

The most important thing is knowledge.

Know the options and how they affect your personal goals in order to make informed decisions.

Pathways abound, and info about them are awash the internet. But the true reality of things can only be told by someone who has walked the walk.

Dr. John Afam is a Trainee Anaesthetist. You can follow him on twitter on: @DrJohnAfam.


  • Obasi Chinedu David attended the College of Medicine, University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, in ituku-ozalla, Enugu state, Nigeria.

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