Background: The availability of skilled manpower at service locations is an important indicator of the strength of the healthcare system and is critical for effective healthcare service delivery in developing countries. The emigration of doctors reported in Africa over the years has tremendously increased in recent times. The health sector in this low-income region has registered a great setback in their health indices following a severe shortage of manpower.
Objective: This study was undertaken to assess the willingness of medical students to practice in Nigeria after the completion of their medical education.
Methods: This was a cross-sectional study performed among medical students in Enugu State University Teaching Hospital, Parklane, Enugu, Nigeria. A pretested self-administered questionnaire was used for data collection. Information was analyzed using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences version 22 software. Descriptive statistics were used to summarize and present data. The degree of bivariate associations was measured using the Pearson Chi-Square test at a significance level of p < 0.05.
Results: The mean age of the respondents was 23.9 ± 3.4 years.The majority were males (58.0%) and a greater proportion of the respondents (83.5%) did not desire to practice in Nigeria after their studies with the USA (29.3%) and Canada (17.8%), being the most preferred countries of migration. Advancement in technology and better remuneration were the most compelling factors for emigration.
Conclusion: To ensure adequacy and efficiency in the health sector as recommended by the World Health Organization, governments of low-income countries should put measures in place to make medical practice in their countries more attractive to young doctors. Such measures include improved remuneration for services rendered and incorporation of more modern technology into the health care delivery system.