Doctors’ Strike/Exodus: CSOs condemn poor doctors’ welfare, harsh working conditions


As hospitals turn disease spreading centres, mortuaries, and burial grounds

Following protracted strike embarked upon by over 19, 000 doctors under the auspices of National Association of Resident Doctors, NARD, with no solution in sight to call off the strike, Civil Society Organisations, CSOs, Sunday, condemned poor doctors’ welfare, harsh working conditions, and others.

It will also be recalled as reported that over 500 Nigerian doctors turned up for a recruitment exercise the Saudi Health Ministry organised in Abuja, whose specialties are in anesthesia, ICU, pediatric surgery, family medicine, obstetrics and gynecology, ENT, emergency medicine, internal medicine, orthopedic surgery, radiology, and hematology as they seek to leave Nigeria for greener pastures abroad, especially to Saudi Arabia, one of the world’s richest and largest crude oil producing countries.

Human lives not valued in Nigeria, FG should urgently address issues raised by doctors-ActionAid

The Country Director, ActionAid Nigeria, AAN, Ene Obi, said, “On more doctors going to Saudi Arabia, it is very obvious that we have fewer doctors than the proportion we currently have, and it is important for the Nigerian government to address the issues the doctors have raised.

“And it is important to treat them as human beings. The kind of war going on between them and Ministry of labour is not something to write home about; the conditions are just not friendly enough, and doctors go through a lot.

“And we have lost quite a number of them even professors whom we lost because of coronavirus, and is a life of danger they are encountered with, and you can see a lot of people going out of the country for treatment of different things instead we should face this issues of public health issues we are having in the country.

“There are so many qualified Nigerian doctors, and so many expertise we have in-country but we do not value them, and this is very important.

“Leaders are not listening, and majority of them are not undergoing health treatment in Nigeria, and they are using public money as well. In many cases they go for treatment with allowances while the common man does not have any place to go.

“The implication is that a lot more people will die; the way we value life is such a shame. We don’t place value on the lives of Nigerians the way they do outside. One person dead you have a whole lot of investigations going on but we are having hundreds on Nigerians dying is okay when is not okay.

“What can we do to reverse this? Is the quality of investment on human capital, and the respect for human capital for the economy, and doctors are occupying a very essential area so we need better working conditions for them; they have complained of dilapidated equipment, especially in the public hospitals, we need to upgrade the equipment to encourage medical tourism to come to Nigeria because we have the experts including upgrading of their services and knowledge.

“We can train qualified doctors to serve the economy and those who want to go out can still go out. The government can train more but you can’t train more if you can’t invest more. Many young people want to study medicine but are given single honors and no space for them. You need to invest in you people by first developing the human capital sector; set a plan in the short and long term.

“On Nigerian Medical Association joining the strike, it is the poor and vulnerable we stand for are the ones who suffer because they have njo where to go because the are being abandoned by the government who supposed to cater for their welfare.”

Govt has turned hospitals to burial grounds, mortuaries; sign of health sector collapse — CN

The Convener, Concerned Nigerians, CN, Comrade Deji Adeyanju, said, “Why should doctors here who complain, go on strike, the government does not respect, who are maltreated, who the Labour Minister threatens with no work-no pay during strikes why should they remain in the country?

“How can doctors be encouraged when the President does not use the hospitals here for treatment, also his wife and children do not use the hospitals here, including the Governors and Ministers does not use the hospitals here.

“What kind of message are they passing to the doctors? So it is right for the President to travel abroad for medical and is not good for doctors who are not appreciated or valued here to go abroad and work?

“So the right to ingress and negress that is right to leave your country and come in at will is a fundamental right. The doctor has the right to say they want to go and practice their trade or profession elsewhere so they cannot be compelled to stay here.

“Under President Muhammadu Buhari’s government, he has not been able to build any hospital in the country or equip any hospital in the country. This is a country where the EFCC’s office is 11-storey building then there is no hospital in Nigeria that is as high as 6-storey building in the country.

“We need to find leaders who can do the right thing. How can a leader going abroad for medicals and abandon the hospitals here and this is bad leadership.

“On the strike, the doctors have the right to go on strike if they are not properly treated because is a fundamental right, and no court can take away the right that is approved by the constitution.

“It is of course justifiable for Nigeria Medical Association, NMA, to go strike because our hospitals are like burial grounds and mortuary; nothing to write home about because the hospitals are not equipped, and the living conditions of doctors in the quarters are very bad. So it is justifiable.”

Horrifying, hospitals will practically collapse in days ahead — CDNDC

Convener, Coalition in Defence of Nigerian Democracy and Constitution, Ariyo-Dare Atoye, said, “It is almost a given that Nigeria has the highest number of physicians working in foreign lands due to the total breakdown in health infrastructure and the absence of quality welfare package for medical doctors.

“It is, however, not a surprise that Saudi Arabia decided to come directly into our country to recruit and source a quality workforce from the mass exodus of doctors out of the country because we are led by insensitive leaders.

“Nigeria is gripped by a national tragedy of a monumental proportion because many hospitals will practically collapse in the days ahead if the NMA joins, and many more people, most especially the commoners, will die from avoidable death due to lack of access to quality treatment.

“This is the failure of leadership, and the only way to reverse this unmitigated disaster is to be deliberate in electing good leaders at all levels of government, leaders who will do the bidding of the common people of Nigeria.”

Doctors’ strike really unfortunate, grave implication for common Nigerians-Yiaga Africa

The Programme Manager, Elections, Yiaga Africa, Paul James, said, “There is no gainsaying that only a healthy population can contribute their quota towards national development. Thus the health sector remains a critical aspect of Nigeria’s economy.

“The ongoing strike by the National Association of Resident Doctors in Nigeria is really unfortunate and it’s implication on Nigerians is dire. Strike by doctors has both economic and health implications on citizens as both government and doctors are yet to find a lasting solution to this saga.

“The fact that doctors in Nigeria are desperately seeking for greener pasture in other countries shows how they are being shabbily treated in Nigeria. The implication of doctors leaving Nigeria is dire to Nigeria and especially average Nigerians that can barely afford quality medical attention.

“At the moment, the nation is already struggling to meet up with the doctor per patient ratio. Thus with the exodus of doctors, it becomes worst as Nigeria are the biggest lower.

“In recent times, hospitals are being overstretched due to inadequate doctors. Thus the brain drain in the health system will further worsen the situation for the common Nigeria who cannot afford private hospital or to travel abroad.

“This does not portray the seriousness of Nigeria’s political class especially when it comes to prioritizing the health of Nigerians.

“There is need to return to the negotiation table to find a lasting solution to the impasse that has grounded the health system in recent months.

“Nigerian leaders have to place more priority on the health and education sector to enable the nation develop this crucial sector. This will not just lead to better health system but also generation of revenue via health export.”

Doctors are front lines care-givers, being paid peanuts unacceptable — CAAPA

The Director of Programmes, Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa, CAPPA, Philip Jakpor, said, “The mass exodus of Nigerian doctors to Saudi Arabia and the Western countries is a very disturbing testament to how the Nigerian government deals with workers in the crucial sectors of the nation.

“What the medical practitioners are demanding – better conditions of service – is within their rights. While they work to ensure Nigerians enjoy good health they should be paid what they deserve.

“If members of the National Assembly can get needless packages for merely sitting down, why should those on the front lines of care-giving be paid peanuts? The federal government should listen to them and give them what they want.

“It is their just due. Or else, no one should blame them for wanting to improve their well-being. Unfortunately the ordinary Nigerian is the one who suffers as the strike linger.”

Nigeria should brace up for more exodus of doctors — HOMEF

The Director, Health For Mother Earth Foundation, HOMEF, Arc Nnimmo Bassey, said, “Health and well-being of a people is a critical indicator of growth. It shouldn’t be one of those sectors to toy or politic with.

“I’d say in general that the government should respond to, and meet the legitimate demands of the doctors and take their welfare and all other medical personnel seriously if we want them to stay back in the country and adequately serve our people.

“Issues of environmental health: pollution, unregulated importation of poisons such as banned pesticides and other harmful chemicals. The quality of foods in the market including genetically modified food products may also compromise citizens’ health.

“Poor sanitation and poor air quality place pressures on our health system. The nation’s life expectancy is declining and some of these are responsible for the decline.

“Beyond doctors, other Nigerians are leaving and no one should blame them for seeking a better environment and health care system. This is a time when no one should play politics with our health workers.

“There will be more exoduses of people if these issues are not attended to urgently.”

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