The Nigerian Medical Association has mentioned some reasons why doctors are leaving Nigeria. Among the reasons cited were poor welfare and lack of remuneration. Dr. Aniekeme Uwah, the National Publicity Secretary of NMA spoke about this. He mentioned this during the 2021 Correspondents’ Chapel Week held in Uyo. The theme of the conference was ‘’Post-COVID-19 Economy and the Challenges to Ethical Journalism Ahead of 2023 Elections.”
Dr. Uwah appealed to the Government to solve the problems causing doctors to leave. He explained that if the issues were not tackled, the health sector could be affected. He advised the Government to make adequate budgetary provisions. These provisions would enable them to pay the health care workers. He also advised them to improve the welfare of health workers in Nigeria.
Meanwhile, Dr. Paschal Chigozie Obi, the Chairman, House Committee on Health Institutions also spoke on the issues. He explained that they cannot do much to discourage health personnel from leaving. He said this during an oversight visit to the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) in Idi-Araba, Lagos. Dr. Pascal explained that the committee was doing its best in collaboration with the Federal Government. He explained that they were working on improving the working conditions of health workers in Nigeria. He further appealed to health workers to be understanding while they worked towards solving their problems.
“We held several meetings with the National Association of Resident Doctors of Nigeria (NARD) and we hands-off when the matter went to court and we can’t do anything until the matter is withdrawn from the court because anything we do will be subjudice. So, we can’t interfere in the court process until it is settled. Right now, we are handicapped.” He explained. He also stated that they have invited the members of the Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU) to the table because they have not yet gone to court. He explained that they are trying to ensure that JOHESU does not go to court or they would have to take their hands off the issue.
Last week, JOHESU stepped back from its nationwide strike which was set to kick off on September 18, 2021. Instead, the union gave the Federal Government another 15 days to meet its demands. Meanwhile, over the weekend, the National Industrial Court (NIC) ordered the striking members of the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) to call off their strike and go back to work. However, the strike is still ongoing.