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106 out of 200 Foreign Trained Doctors Fail Test to Enable Practice in Nigeria



In July 2012, the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN) announced that no foreign trained doctor will be allowed to practice in Nigeria from October, 2012 except evidence is provided to prove that he or she could have practised in their country of study.

Keeping true to their words, the council recently organised assessment tests for the doctors and out of 200 of them who sat for the tests, it was reported that only 94 doctors and dentists who schooled abroad passed the tests.

Daily Trust reports that the MDCN registrar, Dr Udugbai Ilevbare, said the council wanted only practitioners “who are fit in terms of academic and other relevant conditions are registered to practice medicine and dentistry in Nigeria.”

He added that the council did not “want to unleash on unsuspecting Nigerian practitioners who are not well trained” and welcomed the successful doctors.

Minister of Health, Onyebuchi Chukwu who spoke at their induction into the council said the new crops of professionals stood to boost key human resources for health needed to realise the country’s national strategic health development plan.

When BN first broke the news about the new rules for foreign doctors to practice in Nigeria, it was greeted with a heated debate from our readers who had divergent views {click here if you missed it}. Now, with the assessment tests showing that over half of the doctors are not fit to practice in Nigeria, does this mean doctors who want to practice in the country stand a better chance if they study within the shores of this country rather than studying abroad? What could be the reason for the high failure rate?

Please share your thoughts.

Adeola Adeyemo is a graduate of Industrial Relations and Personnel Management from University of Lagos. However, her passion is writing and she worked as a reporter with NEXT Newspaper. She believes that anything can be written about; anything can be a story depending on the angle it is seen from and the writer's imagination. When she is not writing news or feature articles, she slips into her fantasies and creates interesting fiction pieces. She blogs at


  1. John

    November 2, 2012 at 8:55 am

    Are these foreign trained doctors Nigerians or are they from other countries? What kind of test was administered? And if our own locally trained doctors are so good, how come people keep dyeing needlessly in our hospitals for the most basic illnesses and why do our people keep traveling to foreign countries for medical treatment?

    • Lex

      November 30, 2012 at 2:44 am

      This is probably the best comment here so far!

  2. Bumsylee

    November 2, 2012 at 9:04 am

    The results of the MDCN exam might not be far from the truth. I am a Doctor and was as a resident directly involved with the foreign trainned Docs over 3 to 4 year. My training centre part of those used for 3 consecutive yrs. Majority trained in Sudan, Benin republic, east African countries and European countries with names you might have to google. Prior to the exam, they usually do about 6months rotation of the major 4 specialties. Mehm, some were so bad that my Prof had to recommend them to attend classes and postings with our year 4/5 med students. During the exams too, there were usually lots compromises to ensure a ‘good’ pass list. Some even backed out before those exams to on the excuse that they were not ready & left. Believe me that was what I saw. Only few were exceptional.

  3. Niyoola

    November 2, 2012 at 9:12 am

    I think foreign trained doctors have a problem with clinicals/diagnosis in Nigeria. In foreign countries, you have so many available tests etc to help with diagnosis. In Nigeria, you can count the number of hospitals that can carry out an MRI or CT scan. All these make diagnoses easier abroad, but in Nigeria, you usually have to depend on clerking. Some hospitals offer good diagnostic services, but they are expensive; the average Nigerian can’t pay for these battery of tests required. Doctors can diagnose easier without tests in Nigeria than abroad.

    I like that there is an option of showing evidence of being able to practice in country of training or taking the exams in Nigeria

    • yve

      November 2, 2012 at 4:27 pm

      For God sake no human being has XRAY vision…doctor or not. yes there is physical exam, and then there is evaluation with lab tests and imaging….i find the statement ‘Doctors can diagnose easier without tests in Nigeria than abroad’ so ridiculous! Nigerian doctors make serious diagnosis without any test to back up or confirm the diagnosis. And they are subjecting patients to serious medications or lack there of secondary to their clinical impression which is really nothing more than an educated (if that) guess. I think the stats on this ‘foreign grads failing the test’ are way too premature. was the test a standardized general medicine test? or were they asking 101 questions on malaria and Hiv? cause that should be a considered specialty board exam…like in infectious disease! There should be more to medicine in Nigeria now than ‘tropical medicine’…. If we keep up with this thread we are just going to end up isolating smart brilliant well paid doctors who are trying to reverse the brain drain and help their country (like me!). We can all just sit in our plush offices in europe and america and watch from the internet as the entire nigeria health care system goes to shit (like it currently is anyway)!.

    • lace

      November 10, 2012 at 1:23 pm

      Actually, if you’re a medical graduate, you will know that there are diseases which are diagnosed CLINICALLY! In other words, there are no sophisticated tests which will confirm certain diseases better than a well-trained doctor who knows his clinical signs.

      That being said, the reason for the so-called decline in the health system in Nigeria, and you can ask any practising Doctor here, is the ECONOMY.

      How many people can afford a 2D echo test (for instance), when only the cost of the test will cover the cost of more than 6 months worth of (generic) drugs to empirically treat (after clinically diagnosing) the most likely heart conditions found in blacks?

      The value of a life in ANY country unfortunately is tied to the Real Per Capita Income of its peoples. And until there is a more equitable distribution of wealth in nigeria, people will always cut corners with regards to their health. And the best any doctor can do is to work with what is available and play the numbers game.

  4. dobz

    November 2, 2012 at 9:51 am

    John, its not so much the competency of our doctors, its the lack of equipments. theoretically our doctors know their stuff

  5. Lady Jaye

    November 2, 2012 at 9:51 am


  6. ty

    November 2, 2012 at 10:11 am

    people die in our hospital due to lack of adequate and up to date facilities, plus the poor attitude of the doctors ( maybe they are not motivated enuf in terms of money or the lack of equipement/drugs to function well is getting to them some how…

  7. ola

    November 2, 2012 at 10:23 am

  8. Buko

    November 2, 2012 at 11:06 am

    True. Doctors here are not the best in the world but if the basic facilities are available in our hospitals, the improvement would be appreciable. Besides, even when a doctor requires a series of tests for a patient, he ends up bargaining on which ones to leave out due to lack of funds. It’s a commendable development. Medicne in the west isn’t the same as in the tropics.

  9. Tayo

    November 2, 2012 at 11:06 am

    Don’t be mistaken. Failing the exams doesn’t mean that these foreign trained doctors aren’t good or better than nigerian doctors. They’re sure better than the naija doctors for interventional medicine(use of modern equipment 2 properly diagnose & treat appropriately). Just that their knowledge of tropical diseases(common to w/africa) are deficient because disease which are commoner here may not be commonly found there.
    On the long run these guys are much better than nigeria trained docs.

  10. nems

    November 2, 2012 at 11:18 am

    Most Foriegn doctors are used to working in PLUSH CONDITIONS, with access to tests, diagnostic equipment and most European medical schools do not focus enough on tropical diseases. Its like studying law in England and practicing in Nigeria, perhaps foreign trained DOCs could do some extra training in Nigeria, like what they do in the Nigerian Law schools.

  11. Ekene

    November 2, 2012 at 11:51 am

    What do you expect from doctors that trained in Chad, Sudan and Benin republic?

    • xpl

      October 23, 2014 at 10:47 am

      Don’t mind them…….most of these so called ‘doctors'” trainened as nurses or even health extension workers in those countries and came back here as impostors.
      While I was in KD, one of such ” impostor doctors” grounded tablet vit B complex and added into a patients infusion with the excuse that the hospital pharmacy ran shot of the intravenous vit B complexcomplex.Thank God for timley intervention.
      I can go on and on………

  12. DocDeola

    November 2, 2012 at 12:41 pm

    Formal assessment of a doctor’s proficiency in their country of practice is a sign of respect for both their profession and their patients, thus these exams should be viewed as a positive step.
    Hopefully those that did not do well will revise and be motivated to be better doctors.
    During an elective placement at UCH, one of the professors asked a Nigerian trained resident the top ten causes of abdominal pain, and he started naming Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel etc…whilst he should have been prioritising infectious tropical diseases such as typhoid etc….So different country…different disease pathology etc
    On the other hand…there was also a tone of resentment and bitterness in some of the Nigerian trained doctors towards their foreign trained counterparts…whereby most want the opportunity to go abroad, and coming back home to practice may be viewed as a sign of …lack of proficiency.
    Furthermore, Nigerian medical profession still loves to teach by humiliation and also that little insecurity to show the world that their practice is better, even if the MRI machine only wakes from broken slumber once in a blue moon.

  13. I NO SEND

    November 2, 2012 at 1:26 pm


  14. Kay

    November 2, 2012 at 2:32 pm

    This is very interesting for me because i study in Eastern Europe, precising in Ukraine. Am in my fourth year now.Prior to this, i studied Anatomy as a first degree in a Nigerian University, served (NYSC) in a general hospital and worked briefly in the admin unit of a hospital . There is a wide gap in the system of teaching.The Nigerian system of teaching is sincerely wack but students get by!! While it may be true that Foreign Medical schools do not emphasize alot on Tropical illnesses due to what is prevalent in the country of study but the level to which the development of medicine as gotten to is way beyond what is being practiced in Nigeria. Am not saying Nigerian medical school graduates are not ok but that they graduated from a Nigerian school doesnt make them necessarily better than foreign graduates. The affluent ones among us go to Hospitals abroad for a reason is it only because of lack of medical facilities? What is the Nigerian medical system ranking as compared to our counterparts all over the world? How many Nigerian trained doctors update on recent and improved methods and plan of treatments other than what they learnt from school? How do Nigerian doctors or hospitals view doctor’mistake in the treatment of their patients? What is the statistics on patients deaths due to doctor’s wrong prescription, incorrect diagnosis in Nigerian hospitals due to basing diagnosis on lack of equipments or testing or even experience? How do Nigerian doctors view their patients life?! It as become a matter of inferiority complex!!! It doesnt matter where you graduate from, a good doctor is a good doctor. Of course foreign students should sit for a licensing exam as done in other developed countries but please don’t think just because the name of a country sounds funny to you so that means students from that country are stupid or incompetent based on some prejudiced exam set by some very old school, stagnant knowledged biased doctors.

    • Rachael Kelly-Taylor

      November 2, 2012 at 3:57 pm

      God Bless you. It’s inferiority complex that is affecting them.

    • xpl

      October 23, 2014 at 10:27 am

      You are not serious……….what took you to Anatomy in the first instance if not repeated failures in JAMB that prevented you from securing admission in Medicine in Nigeria ? With your little money,you ran over to Ukraine to Buy admission in Medicine.
      My only plea is that you practise there after they must have finished their stupid training on you. I say this b/cos I’ve interacted with your likes from same Ukraine……… they are really HORRIBLE.

  15. nuellla

    November 2, 2012 at 3:43 pm

    kay, if there was a like button ,i’ll definitely use it first on u for ur truthful opinion
    stop hating!!! a good doctor is a good doctor//////////period!

  16. NNENNE

    November 3, 2012 at 3:01 am

    @hems….you got the answers.
    Btw ,it is offensive to call Nigerian doctors “wack”. The truth is that if your leave your country of practice and / or education and go to another area, you should be given some for of training to adapt.There are still good doctors trained in Nigerian.What they lack in modern day technology, they have in technical and observational skills. If they find themselves abroad, they usually adapt.
    May be these foreign trained doctors felt too big to study for these exams because they think there are no standards at home.

    • yve

      November 3, 2012 at 5:23 pm

      ‘What they lack in modern day technology, they have in technical and observational skills’. SMH. No comment. I always say that if someone finds themselves in a serious health crisis in Naija, its only luck and Gods’ grace that will keep them alive. Nothing else. Its sad that people here on BN are refusing to accept the glaring incompetencies in the naija health system. how can u test someone else when u urself no sabi book and are not up to date? and here we r defending them. Suffering and Smiling nigerians….

  17. i no send

    November 3, 2012 at 9:17 am

    john ( 1st comment)please help me ask whoeva……

  18. Chris

    November 4, 2012 at 9:04 am

    I think that whether or not foreign trained medical students are better than the locally trained ones, or otherwise, is a secondary issue in this case. Besides, that comparison cannot be easily made on face value because there are a number of confounding variables, only a controlled research can give the true picture on that. I think the primary issue here is on which method of examonation was utilized on these students, how objective or subjective is the method of examination. 94 out of 200 gives a pass rate of 47%, which is not even so much of an abberation from what is obtainable in Nigerian medical schools after examinations. Some Nigerian Medical Schools even produce worse results. So the question is are the examinations administered in Nigeria an effective means of assessment?

  19. Iyke Ebii

    March 15, 2013 at 5:46 pm

    well, the study of medicine is a matter of the heart and thus is a matter of individual differences. I’m studying in moscow, i hear alot of things that could discourage a man bur they always challenged me. The environment is fully equipped to harness knowledge and yet some folks down here misuse that which is same everywhere no matter the place of someone said..A good doctor is a good doctor..

  20. Secretme

    August 13, 2013 at 7:10 am

    Nigeria should consider herself lucky if foreign trained Nigerian doctors want to go back and work there and earn peanuts compared to what they will get paid abroad. This whole article is stupid!! So Nigerian doctors are better than foreign trained ones, then why don’t Nigerian doctors just go to america and practice without having to start all over again. I am studying in Australia to become a doctor and I certainly am disappointed by this article.

  21. Akanke

    December 6, 2013 at 2:04 pm


  22. Akanke

    December 6, 2013 at 2:10 pm


  23. King

    April 5, 2014 at 12:29 pm

    I am a dentist I graduated last yr from Crimea, Ukraine and I wrote the Nigeria Exam in October 2013 and didn’t make it, why becos I was told to pay 130k to pass d exam. Firstly, when I was on assessment, Nigerians still use Amalgam in Restorative dentistry when her in d west d have banned it. We are never updated and no equipment to work with. Everything is set for u 2 work with in d hospital but in Nigeria d diagnostic center is in Yaba for instance while d treatment center is in Idi-araba. During d assessment exam d gave us 100 mcqs best of 5 options to finish in 45mins. Best of 5 options? i.e all answers are correct but u must choose d right one and in 45mins.. When it was 45mins d said stop and people dat didn’t stop d tore dere paper. In abroad d make it easy 4 u 2 brainstorm becos Medicine is all about reasoning and getting d right diagnose.. I even knw people dat did not come for the exam but d passed. How???? Someone should tell me.

    • xpl

      October 23, 2014 at 10:35 am

      King, shut up your smelly mouth with impacted tooth……….Failure is constant.If do accept it and work harder the next time……Olodo !

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