Over 500 Nigerian doctors turned up for a recruitment exercise the Saudi health ministry organised in Abuja on Tuesday.
The exercise, which commenced at 7am continued way past afternoon.
Our correspondent observed a large crowd of doctors within and outside the building during the exercise.
The Saudi Ministry of Health had earlier called on doctors with different specialties to attend the interview.
The specialties are anesthesia, ICU, pediatric surgery, family medicine, obstetrics and gynecology, ENT, and emergency medicine.
Others are all sub-specialties of internal medicine, orthopedic surgery, radiology, and hematology.
The recruitment exercise was conducted by an agency on behalf of the Saudi Arabia Ministry of Health and that other agencies will still hold recruitment exercise this Thursday in Abuja, and other parts of the country in coming days.
Doctors have said that poor remuneration, inadequate manpower, poor health facilities and insecurity are some of the reasons making them seek greener pastures abroad
Experts have, however, warned that the mass exodus of doctors portends danger for the country‘s already weak health system.
A gynaecologist, who spoke on condition of anonymity, lamented over the situation.
He said, “We cannot really survive where Mr President goes out of the country for medical treatment, while for the past ten months now, most of us have not been paid, and those who are paid are paid half salaries.
“I need to take care of my family. Why is the government not taking care of the health sector? After going through rigorous training for six years, it is not worth it to come out struggling to feed your family. I have been working 48 hours at a stretch with nothing to show.”
A pediatrician, who also craved anonymity, said the working environment for doctors in the country was pitiable and they had no option but to leave.
He said, “There are more than 500 specialist doctors here wanting to leave the country and they are coming from various teaching hospitals, federal medical centers and specialists hospitals.
“So Saudi Arabia wants the best for her people, the officials come here, collect the best from Nigeria, and put them in their hospitals for their people to benefit from our expertise .”