As the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) gears up for a nationwide protest, the union decries the mass exodus of its members “every day” to other African countries over “better” working conditions and infrastructure.
This comes barely 24 hours after NARD announced its intention to picket the Federal Ministry of Health, Office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation, as well as all federal and state tertiary health institutions nationwide from Wednesday.
The move is the latest in the resident doctors’ efforts to speed up the implementation of a prior agreement with the Federal Government, including the immediate payment of the 2023 MRTF, the immediate release of the circular on one-for-one replacement, and the payment of skipping arrears.
To this end, NARD, on July 25, declared a “total and indefinite strike action”.
The NARD President, Dr Emeka Orji, who appeared on Channels Television’s Sunday Politics, noted working conditions in the Nigerian health sector had deteriorated to such a degree that resident doctors were migrating to foreign countries.
According to Orji, the number of Nigerian resident doctors has dwindled from 16,000 to between 12,000 and 15,000 in a few years with 1,000 to 2,000 colleagues lost to the japa syndrome annually.
Asked to comment on some of the preferred countries of these doctors, Orji said, “And some of them are even going to African countries. That would tell you how bad the Nigerian health sector has become, that doctors leave this country and go to African countries.”
He explained that “they have better working conditions there; they have better infrastructure. And we are supposed to be giants to Africa”.