Resident doctors in Nigeria have recently downed tools over a long-running dispute with the government on remuneration and welfare. As usual, when two elephants tangle, it is the grass that suffers. Patients have been left to their fate in what is yet another episode in the unbearably ugly theatre of trauma Nigeria’s health care is turning out to be.
It is no secret that for many years, Nigeria`s health system has been walking on borrowed legs. The poor masses who live in rural communities and cut off from basic infrastructure (good roads, water, health care facilities, power,) do not only wallow in poverty but also die of preventable of disease, while public officials who are supposed to guarantee their welfare through good governance do not only look away in their comfort zones but also travel abroad for medical attention when they develop a small illness.
- PODCAST: COVID-19: Nigerians In Denial As Number of Cases Skyrockets
- Inside world of Abuja corporate beggars
Commonly, it is our doctors that bear the brunt of government`s abysmal failure to guarantee good health for the populace. Owing to the lack of proper medical facilities, doctors, too, become helpless in saving lives. Scores of people have lost their lives because the system is not built to withstand even minor shocks.
The recent COVID-19 pandemic exposes the incomprehensive medical service offered by health personnel as well as several life-threatening dangers they face on a daily basis.
In the line of duty, many of them have lost their lives. This is in addition to the toll their daily encounter with the infirm and dying takes on their mental health and psychological wellbeing.
The nauseating nonchalance with which doctors are treated in Nigeria surely promises that the brain drain that is imposing on Nigerians an acute shortage of medical doctors will be around for a long time as Nigerian doctors will continue to be lured to other countries by the sirens of better conditions. It makes the jaw drop that in some states, medical doctors have not been paid for eighteen months.
While the dereliction on the part of the federal and state governments continue, Nigerians should never fail to note those public officers who prefer that scalpels and stethoscopes are shred away from doctors here while they flee to other countries at every itch, scurrying up their backs. Nigerians must ensure that such leaders occupy no public office.
Kene Obiezu writes from Abuja