By Ene Adebayo
It is widely believed that the health sector of every nation is the bedrock of the economic development but the unending flock to foreign countries by Nigerian medical personnel in search of greener pasture has proven that Nigeria is not on the route of that needed economic development.
Last week, the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) threatened to embark on a nationwide industrial action if the Federal Government fails to address their demands which include: the irregularities in the new circular on an upward review of the medical residency training fund, non-payment of outstanding arrears of the new hazard allowance, as well as the non-payment of the consequential adjustment of the minimum wage to some of its members.
The case is not different with the Association of Resident Doctors, FCT chapter as some of the benefits of the medical personnel are yet to be met. But what the federal government seems to be getting right is on the opposite side in the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA).
According to investigation, Medical Residency Training Fund (MRTF) 2022 for the resident doctors which has been addressed by the government for the association at the federal level has not been paid by the FCTA.
Similarly, hazard allowance which has been paid (9 months) by the Federal Government has not been paid by the Federal Capital Territory Administration, thereby owing 13 months.
Also, promotion arrears has not been paid since last year February including Skipping and Covid-19 allowances.
Every effort to speak with the President of the Association of Resident Doctors, FCT chapter, Dr Rahman Olayinka proved abortive as of the time of filing this report.
Nigeria is one of the African nations worst hit by brain drain in the health sector.
Last year, Nigerian Medical Association President, Prof Innocent Ujah, revealed that the country has a deficit of 315,426 medical doctors to cater to the health needs of its 215, 266, 984 population. He disclosed this during the association’s annual lecture with the theme “Brain drain and medical tourism: The twin evil in the health system in Nigeria.”
The NMA noted Nigeria’s ratio of one doctor to 5,000 patients falls short of the World Health Organisation’s recommended ratio of doctors to patients in the country, which should be one doctor to 600 patients.
Using the latest United Nations population data for Nigeria, which is pegged at 215,063,351, the NMA revealed that there are 43,013 doctors available to attend to all Nigerians, leaving a huge deficit of 315,426 medical doctors.