If you live in Nigeria then you have to be careful because three things can strike at any time — thunder, "ASUU" or doctors.
Presently, all three of them are in action: It’s the rainy season in Nigeria so of course thunder is present, lecturers under the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) are already threatening to go on another strike and the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) have been on strike for more than four weeks now.
“Thunder and ASUU we know, but who are the resident doctors in Nigeria and why have they gone on strike?”, you ask.
Well, they are doctors who have graduated from medical school and are taking part in a graduate medical education program by working at hospitals and providing direct care to patients.
And they are currently on an indefinite strike because of a thing called “salary”. You know, that thing adults are paid at the end of the month to make adulting less… ‘adulterous’.
I “NARD” Do Again
On August 2nd 2021, the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) embarked on an indefinite industrial action after the National Executive Council (NEC) of the union held a meeting in Umuahia, Abia State.
Speaking with journalists after the meeting, Dr Okhuaihesuyi Uyilaw, the President of NARD declared that the resident doctors in Nigeria are embarking on a “total and indefinite strike” from August 2nd 2021 because of:
- The non-regular payment of resident doctors;
- A lack of payment of “Death in Service” insurance benefits to the next of kin of 19 resident doctors who died while attending to patients during the Covid-19 pandemic;
- A lack of increase in the hardship allowance (or “hazard allowance”) paid to resident doctors from ₦5,000 to 50% of their basic salaries, and the payment of their Covid-19 allowance;
- The exorbitant fees (or “bench fees”) resident doctors are forced to pay when they go for further laboratory training in other medical institutions across Nigeria; among many other reasons.
“I’m In Saudi Arabia Jamming”
This indefinite strike about the poor welfare conditions of resident doctors in Nigeria is not new. But, it is coming on the back of news that the Saudi Arabia Ministry of Health was conducting a recruitment exercise for Nigerian healthcare specialists in Lagos, Nigeria.
Already, Nigerian doctors in the United Kingdom, United States of America, Saudi Arabia and many other countries attest to the fact that their living conditions have been significantly better since they left Nigeria.
“While I was in Nigeria, my salary was ₦113,450”, a Nigerian doctor in Saudi Arabia told Punch. Adding that “now I earn way more than I did in Nigeria. I enjoy 36-day paid leave, good working conditions and my flight ticket was paid by Saudi Arabia”.
Another Nigerian doctor in Saudi Arabia remarked that “my salary as a doctor in Nigeria combining two jobs was less than ₦120,000. In Saudi Arabia, I earn around 10 times that amount”. He concluded that Saudi Arabia had less workload, amazing state-of-the-art facilities, good hospital management systems, health insurance, paid leave and free tickets for holidays.
The Sad Reality
In Nigeria, one doctor attends to about 3,806 patients which is against the World Health Organisation recommendation of one doctor to 1,000 patients at most. Also, according to Afriacheck, Nigeria loses an average of 12 doctors every week to the United Kingdom.
Nigeria must address these challenges and begin to treat its doctors better because they are probably the last functioning parts of an already rickety health sector.
Gifs sourced from memes.zikoko.com