The United Kingdom has recently put Nigeria on the red list of countries that should not be actively considered for recruitment by health and social care employers.
This move came after the World Health Organisation (WHO) listed 55 countries, including Nigeria, as facing the most pressing health workforce challenges related to Universal Health Coverage.
The UK Home Office report, titled “Code of Practice for the international recruitment of Health and social care personnel in England,” disclosed that Nigeria and other countries on the red list should not be actively targeted for recruitment by health and social care employers, except if there was a government-to-government arrangement in place.
The WHO Global Code of Practice on the International Recruitment of Health Personnel, which calls for prioritising health personnel development and health system-related support, provides the methodology for identifying countries on the red list.
The listed countries should be provided with safeguards that discourage active international recruitment of health personnel.
The red-graded countries are those where active recruitment by health and social care employers, recruitment organisations, agencies, collaborations, or contracting bodies is discouraged.
This discouragement is due to the need to prioritize health personnel development and health system-related support.
The amber-graded countries are those where international recruitment is only allowed in compliance with the terms of a government-to-government agreement.
Nigeria’s placement on the red list highlights the need for the country to focus on developing its health workforce and improving its health systems.
The government must take urgent steps to address the health workforce challenges that have led to Nigeria’s placement on the red list.
One of the ways to achieve this is through investing in the training and development of healthcare professionals in the country.
The government must also work to improve the working conditions and remuneration of healthcare workers to prevent the migration of skilled health personnel from the country.
Additionally, the government must provide the necessary infrastructure and equipment to enable healthcare professionals to provide quality care to patients.
This includes increasing the number of healthcare facilities, improving access to essential medicines and medical supplies, and upgrading existing facilities.