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Doctors in Nigeria continue strike action over pay and conditions

Hospital in Lagos as doctors take strike action   -  
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Sunday Alamba/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved


About 15,000 doctors in Nigeria continuing with strike action over working conditions and pay, shutting down healthcare across public hospitals.

Members of the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors say an unprecedented number of them are leaving Nigeria for better job offers abroad without being replaced.

Doctor Adenuga Omogbolahan is among the medical staff who have walked out. 

“We are not asking for too much, we are saying they should increase the minimum wage because the current minimum wage is a criminal wage, it’s not a living wage, it cannot take us anywhere," he explains.  

"So, that’s why we are saying, 'let the take home, take us home,' the take home cannot take us home again. Doctors cannot come to work; they are trekking to work.”

Kemi Abiloye is a doctor and president of the Association of Resident Doctors at Lagos University Teaching Hospital.

She adds: “For somebody like me, I'm really overworked, I will be on call for almost 48 hours, I don’t go home to see my children, I don’t see my husband. 

"Government employed me, government is not paying my salary you know, I don’t have that social relationship with my family and here with work I don’t even have money to feed myself.”

Salaries have not increased since 2009 and with a fall in the value of the naira, doctors are much poorer, in real terms, now than 15 years ago.

“We are left with no other options," adds Abiloye.  "We’ve advocated, we’ve lobbied, there’s nothing we have not done. Our national executive practically sleeps on the street of Abuja, entering one offices to another, from finance to budget, to this and that just to ensure that they solve issues, but they are frustrated. They just can’t get any audience.”

The World Health Organisation reports that Nigeria has a ratio of four doctors to 10,000 patients as of 2021.

However, the Nigerian Medical Association says it is closer to a ratio of two doctors to 10,000 patients generally and one to 10,000 in some rural areas.  Such staffing levels would make Nigeria's doctor staffing one of the worst globally.

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