Emma Thompson
Wed, Jul 26, 2023 6:40 PM

Nigerian Resident Doctors Embark on Indefinite Strike for Improved Pay and Working Conditions

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Nigerian Resident Doctors Embark on Indefinite Strike for Improved Pay and Working Conditions
Resident doctors in Nigerian public hospitals have embarked on an indefinite strike to protest against arrears in salaries and demand improved pay and working conditions. The strike, the second of its kind this year, threatens to shut down critical healthcare services in the country's under-staffed public hospitals. The doctors' demands highlight the worsening healthcare burden in Nigeria, as a significant number of doctors continue to leave the country in search of better opportunities abroad. The strike serves as a wake-up call for the Nigerian government to prioritize healthcare and address the needs of its medical professionals.

ABUJA, Nigeria - Resident doctors in Nigeria have begun their second strike of the year to protest against arrears of salaries and to call for improved pay and working conditions. This "total and indefinite strike" announced by the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors could potentially disrupt critical healthcare services across public hospitals in the country.

Public hospitals in Nigeria rely heavily on resident doctors, who are medical school graduates providing urgent and critical care across understaffed healthcare facilities. However, due to the deteriorating conditions and lack of incentives, an average of 200 resident doctors have been relocating abroad each month over the past two years in search of better pay and opportunities.

Nigeria's healthcare system is already burdened by a shortage of doctors, with a ratio of only four doctors to 10,000 patients as of 2021 according to the World Health Organization. However, the Nigerian Medical Association claims that the actual ratio is much worse at 2:10,000 in general and 1:10,000 in some rural areas.

One of the major grievances of the resident doctors is the lack of salary increases since negotiations in 2009. In addition, the devaluation of the local currency against the U.S. dollar by 480% over the years has further eroded their earnings. Consultants, who are highly qualified senior doctors, earn less than $900 a month, while those with around five years of experience earn between $400 and $600.

The current strike highlights the growing brain drain in Nigeria's healthcare sector, as doctors continue to leave the country in search of better opportunities and working conditions abroad. The United Kingdom is the preferred choice for many Nigerian doctors, with Nigerian nationals accounting for 14% of the total "Skilled Worker - Health and Care" visas issued by the UK government in the year leading up to September 2022.

While Nigeria is Africa's top oil producer and has the continent's largest economy, the public health sector has been chronically underfunded for many years. The government's failure to prioritize healthcare has forced doctors to resort to strikes as a means of getting their demands heard.

The ongoing strike serves as an urgent wake-up call for the Nigerian government to prioritize healthcare and invest in the well-being of its medical professionals. Without meaningful action, the situation will continue to deteriorate, putting an immense strain on an already burdened healthcare system.

Source of content: OOO News 2023-07-26 News

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