When the two elephant fight, the grasses or ant get all the brunt. it took several weeks before a truce was reached. By then, many had died of lack of medical attention, injuries that could easily have been taken care of had festered and health conditions that would have promptly been attended to linger longer than necessary.The last time resident doctors went mad against the Federal Government of Nigeria
The government had not kept to the agreement, which led to the end of the strike and now, the doctors are mad with the government again and the people are bearing the brunt. Patients are finding alternatives. In some instances, youth Corps doctors are helping out. Talk about two elephants fighting and the grass suffering.
The government ran the doctors mad for failing to implement the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) it signed with the doctors over 100 days ago. The doctors are demanding the immediate withdrawal of the circular removing House Officers from the scheme of service and the Medical Residency Training Funds. They are also mad over the circular from the Head of Service of the Federation removing House Officers from the scheme of service and the consequent implementation by the Lagos State government. They are also piqued that some House Officers are still being owed 1-2 months’ salaries. Equally unacceptable to the doctors is the fact that some Chief Medical Directors have renamed the bench fee as training fee causing hardship on her members. The doctors are also mad that only one of 19 families of doctors who died while treating COVID-19 patients had received their death-in-service insurance.
A statement by the doctors said: “NEC noted that with regards to the non-payment of the National Minimum Wage Consequential Adjustment, the list of affected institutions and personnel strength had since been submitted to the Federal Ministry of Health as directed by the MOA signed with the Federal Government yet nothing has been done.
“The NEC noted that despite Government’s promise to migrate her members from the GIFMIS to the IPPIS platform, they are still stuck on the GIFMIS platform which is laced with payment irregularities.”
Medicine is a field that develops at a very high speed, but, in Nigeria, you find under-motivated and fatigued doctors still using outdated equipment, and in that kind of situation, you are bound to get wrong results. Little wonder we have so many cases of misdiagnosis. Re-training for doctors also suffer and you find services, even in government-owned hospitals, exorbitant to an average Nigerian who earns a few dollars per month.
From primary health care centers to tertiary health institutions, medical hands do not have the equipment they need to work with, they are poorly motivated, allowances are not taken seriously, and incentives are almost non-existence. The hospitals are also not enough, and the few ones have inadequate hands to attend to patients, thus leading to an overburdened health care sector.
With the poor state of the health sector which sees the rich, including our president and governors, always rushing abroad for medical care, patient’s experience is better experienced than imagined. In government-owned hospitals, patients have to contend with poorly motivated nurses who scream at them, doctors who will rather spend time at their private clinics or side gigs, and a situation where they have to source vital health kits and medicines needed for their treatment.
When the doctors are not on strike, the long wait to see doctors at government-owned hospitals is torturing. And when a patient eventually sees the doctor, medical jargon is preferred to properly communicate with the patient. The wait time for surgery is a different ball game. Patients have had to use their links with men of influence to shorten the months they have to endure excruciating pains.
The wellness of health care providers is not taken very seriously in Nigeria and many of them transfer their frustration to their patients. Resident doctors in Nigeria have gone on strike several times to force the government to pay one allowance or the other. It is thus no wonder that Nigeria has more of its doctors now working in South Africa, America, Australia, and the UK. The shameless manner doctors are treated has made that sector one that contributes greatly to the country’s brain drain challenge.
Our teaching hospitals train doctors but are unable to provide affordable specialist care for patients. And neither do they conduct researches to bring better care to their patients; this is not because they cannot, but because the resources and equipment to do it are not there.
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