Guidance

Nigeria: migrant health guide

Advice and guidance on the health needs of migrant patients from Nigeria for healthcare practitioners.

Main messages

If the patient is new to the UK:

  • explain to them how the NHS works
  • discuss how this compares to the healthcare system they’ve been used to

Ensure that all patients are up-to-date with the UK immunisation schedule.

Screen all new entrants, including children, for tuberculosis (TB).

There is a high burden of multi drug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) in Nigeria.

Offer and recommend an HIV test to all adults from Nigeria, and consider offering an HIV test to infants and children who have recently arrived in the UK.

Offer to all sexually active individuals:

  • a full sexual health screen
  • safer sex health promotion advice

Consider screening for hepatitis B, particularly among those who have recently arrived, because Nigeria has a high prevalence.

Be alert for signs and symptoms of polio, and ensure vaccination as required, because polio (wild polio or cVDPV) has recently been reported in Nigeria.

Ask opportunistically about any travel plans the patient may have to visit friends and relatives in their country of origin, and see National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC), or the Health Protection Scotland websites (TRAVAX and fitfortravel, for travel advice.

There is a high risk of malaria in Nigeria.

There is a risk of typhoid infection in Nigeria.

Find out more about children’s health.

Infectious diseases

Immunisation

Ensure that all patients, especially children, are up-to-date with the UK immunisation schedule.

Tuberculosis (TB)

The incidence of TB in Nigeria is high (40 to 499 cases per 100,000), and there is also a high burden of MDR-TB, so:

  • screen all new entrants, including children, for TB according to NICE guidelines
  • refer to TB services promptly if screening is positive
  • seek advice, if you are a local TB service, from the MDR-TB Clinical Advice Service before treating patients from Nigeria for TB
  • maintain long term vigilance for symptoms of TB even if initial screening is negative
  • be aware that TB is a notifiable disease

Sexually transmitted infections and HIV

There is a high rate of HIV in Nigeria (>1%), so:

Although recent global data on STIs are not available, countries with high HIV rates tend to have higher rates of STIs, and the range of STIs encountered in Nigeria may vary from those in the UK, so offer to sexually active individuals:

  • a full sexual health screen
  • safer sex health promotion advice by referral to local genito-urinary medicine services

Hepatitis B

Nigeria has a high prevalence of hepatitis B, so:

  • consider screening for hepatitis B, particularly those who have recently arrived
  • offer screening for hepatitis B to all pregnant women during each pregnancy
  • immunise appropriately babies born to mothers who are hepatitis B positive, and follow-up accordingly
  • be aware that the UK has a selective immunisation programme for hepatitis B

Hepatitis C

Nigeria has a higher prevalence of hepatitis C than the UK, so consider screening for hepatitis C if other risk factors apply.

Polio

Polio (wild polio or cVDPV) has been reported in Nigeria, so:

  • be alert for signs and symptoms of polio in anyone arriving from Nigeria, and investigate as appropriate
  • ensure all new entrants are brought up to date with the UK immunisation schedule, including polio vaccine as required
  • see NaTHNaC for advice about polio vaccine requirements if patients are planning to travel back to Nigeria, as specific advice is in place for long-term visitors (over 4 weeks) to Nigeria

Travel plans and advice

Ask opportunistically about any travel plans the patient may have to visit friends and relatives in their country of origin, and see National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC), or the Health Protection Scotland websites (TRAVAX and fitfortravel, for travel advice.

Malaria

There is a high risk of malaria in Nigeria, mainly due to P. falciparum, so:

Typhoid

There is a risk of typhoid infection in Nigeria, so:

  • ensure that travellers to Nigeria are offered typhoid immunisation and advice on prevention of enteric fever
  • remember enteric fever in the differential diagnosis of illness in patients with a recent history of travel to-or-from Nigeria

Helminths

There is a risk of helminth infections in Nigeria, including:

  • schistosomiasis
  • lymphatic filariasis
  • soil transmitted helminthiasis

Women’s health

Reproductive health indicators

Reproductive health indicator UK Nigeria
Children per woman¹ 2 6
Use of contraception² 82% 12.6%

¹lifetime average ²by woman of reproductive age or partner

No data are available on:

  • mammography screening rates
  • cervical cancer screening rates

Female genital mutilation

Female genital mutilation (FGM) has regularly been documented in Nigeria.


Find out more about women’s health.

Nutritional and metabolic concerns

Anaemia

There is a high risk of anaemia in adults (estimated prevalence in non-pregnant women is >40%), and in pre-school children (estimated prevalence is >40%), in Nigeria, so:

  • consider the possibility of anaemia in recently arrived migrants, particularly women and pre-school children
  • test as clinically indicated

Vitamin D

Consider the possibility of vitamin D deficiency in people who may be at risk due to:

  • covering their body for cultural or religious reasons (lack of sunlight)
  • skin colour
  • diet (vegan or vegetarian)

Vitamin A

There is a high risk of vitamin A deficiency in Nigeria.

Country profile

Health indicators and health care

WHO Global Health Observatory has a summary of health indicators and health care in Nigeria.

Culture, politics and history

BBC News and The World Factbook provide background information on the culture, politics and history of Nigeria.

Languages

The main languages used in Nigeria are:

  • English (official)
  • Hausa
  • Yoruba
  • Igbo (Ibo)
  • Fulani
  • over 500 additional indigenous languages

Source: The World Factbook.


Find out about language interpretation.

Religions

Religion Population (%)
Muslim 50
Christian 40
Indigenous beliefs 10

Source: The World Factbook.

Migration to the UK

There were over 191,000 people from Nigeria living in England and Wales at the time of the 2011 Census.

Source: Office for National Statistics

Published 31 July 2014
Last updated 30 June 2017 + show all updates
  1. Updated and editorial changes made to meet GOV.UK style
  2. First published.