Anonymous submission by Nigerian Resident Doctor
“In retrospect, it’s a good thing doctors were on strike when the ill fated Ebola landed in Nigeria. Nigeria would have been swimming with Ebola! No gloves, no water, no protective devices nothing! And the government wants us to come and treat Ebola patients; with what if I may ask? “
Looking back at the events of the last few weeks in the health sector in Nigeria, I can’t help but wonder how things spiralled downwards this way. Two months ago , a notice came out in reputable national newspapers that a nationwide strike will be commenced by the Nigerian Medical Association and all doctors including residents will be part of this strike. The government was given two weeks notice to fulfil a lot of previously signed agreements and some new ones, else doctors would stop work nationwide.
The demands included relativity, skipping of levels, a unified statement concerning residency training, a universal National Health insurance scheme and that only doctors that have gone through the residency training program be referred to as consultants as it is in other sane climes.
Other conditions included increment of hazard allowance from the ridiculous 5000 Naira monthly to a more reasonable amount amongst other things. The summary of it all was better working environment, better pay at least to make doctors stop living from hand to mouth, better health care delivery to patients.
Documents had been signed in the past concerning some of these and the government had reneged on all previous agreements. This was something we were going to fight to the finish…or so we thought….Alas how wrong we were!
How is it that it is the residents that are getting sacked for a strike the NMA started? In the profession, there are some people behind the curtains called the ‘medical elders’. Oh…These people call the shots. They forget they were once residents and some were even presidents of the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors at one time or the other.
After the government had answered the demands concerning most of those at the top, they conveniently remembered there was a national medical emergency called Ebola and decided the strike should be called off. They were coming back with empty promises yet another time again. NARD decided that we had had enough! No calling off the strike till we have something meaningful from the strike. Going on strike on the same thing over and over again only shows ineptitude and we were not having it; Of what use is it to call off a strike that long only to call it off and then go on another one month’s later?
The ‘medical elders’ then advised the government to lay off 16000 resident doctors nationwide which will likely put an end to the strike forgetting that the NMA was the one that called the strike action. The residents have now become a pawn in the whole game.
I work in one of the ‘supposed’ reputable federal hospitals in Lagos and boy..you need to see our emergency services. In retrospect, its a good thing doctors were on strike when the ill fated Ebola landed in Nigeria. Nigeria would have been swimming with Ebola! No gloves, no water, no protective devices nothing! And the government wants us to come and treat Ebola patients; with what if I may ask?
May the souls of Dr Ameyo and the beautiful nurse that died rest in peace but we all know Nigeria will do nothing for their families we’ve heard too much empty promises in the past… I love my country but I’m not ready to die for a country that cares nothing for its citizens. A country where thieves and looters are glorified, where there’s famine in the midst of plenty.