The number of Nigerian doctors working in the UK has been sharply increasing, according to research by fact-checking organisation Africa Check.

Last year, the number of Nigerian doctors registered with the UK General Medical Council nearly doubled, an increase of 89%.

“In 2016, a total of 245 doctors registered in the UK. The number sharply rose to 439 last year, taking the number of doctors to 5,060,” Africa Check said.

So far this year, on average 12 Nigerian doctors were being registered every week, bringing the total number to 5,250 on 28 April 2018, the fact-checking body said.

The first year for which data was listed – 2006 – showed 2,692 Nigerian doctors registered.

The BBC’s Stephanie Hegarty in Lagos says it is not clear yet why the numbers have risen so rapidly.

Brain drain of this kind is a huge challenge for health systems in Africa, she says.

Nigeria went through a recession in 2016 and a 10-day doctor’s strike over unpaid wages in September 2017 was no doubt a push factor, but most of these medics would have left before that point, she adds.