Doctors in Nigeria under the auspices of National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) commenced industrial action grounding health services across hospitals in the country. Their strike action came barely 24 hours after President Muhammadu Buhari flew to a London hospital for routine medical checkup. Daily Trust spoke to some Nigerians on their take on the president’s medical trip abroad amidst the crisis in the country’s health sector. Excerpts:
Abua Patrick Atoshi, 31, Banker, Makurdi
Mostly his supporters said he has disappointed them for his inability to rule the country effectively. As a president, it is the ordinary Nigerians who are suffering from most of his policies. The president travelled to another country for medication while doctors are going on strike shows that the country is not safe. Ordinary Nigerians are the ones to pay for this because they can’t afford to fly themselves abroad for medication.
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Adzua Terkula, 47, Farmer, Makurdi
President Muhammadu Buhari has shown by his recent medical trip to London that Nigeria, the country he leads has a dysfunctional health care system and he is incapable of fixing the same. This is the man that prior to his ascendency to the presidency said he would discourage medical tourism. Six years after his presidency, he still travels abroad for the same reason he sharply disagreed and criticised his predecessors. It is hypocrisy at the highest level by a man that we regrettably supported in 2015, thinking that he has a solution to the myriad of our problems as a nation.
He has proven us wrong and it is nauseating that he has embarked on the latest trip when doctors in our health institutions are on strike. It baffles me because if London has treated its doctors this way and they are on strike, he wouldn’t have found a safe place to go for medical attention. I do not think this is the Buhari I voted for in 2015 and to say that I am disappointed is saying the least.
Benedicta Akorchio, 29, Student, Makurdi
Many Nigerians think the president left the country with his roof on fire or perhaps, for the lack of good medical equipment. I think this government should live up to expectations as regards healthcare.
Malam Sani Ismael, 40, newspaper vendor, Bauchi
The timing of resident doctors’ strike when the president was embarking on a medical trip in London was a calculated attempt to tarnish the image of the administration. The move was sabotage with the aim of politicising their demands which exhibited their high level of unpatriotic tendencies because this is not the first time President Buhari is going to London for medical reasons.
Femi Alagbe, Student, 39, Ibadan
He messed up the whole country and embarked on a medical trip. He is using the taxpayers’ money for the trip. Why not develop our own health facility here? It was in his campaign promises that he was going to develop our health sector. Now, things are bad while he embarked on a medical trip. It is a shame on him and Nigeria as a whole
Ademola Babalola, Journalist, 44 years, Ibadan
Leaders need to live by example. That is my watchword. President Muhammadu Buhari’s routine medical trip is a slap on Nigeria as a country when our resident doctors are on strike. I expect President Buhari with the special grace God bestowed on him to wade through life-threatening experiences he had in recent years, to put in place an enduring legacy in the nation’s health sector. It is not too late to re-equip all the nation’s tertiary health institutions and even establish a well-equipped standard hospital in Nigeria to care for such ailment and put an end to his medical tourism. I challenge our leaders to visit all our medical facilities to see If they are in good condition.
Mohammed Manasa, 48, businessman, Bauchi
The situation has revealed the failure of President Muhammadu Buhari on healthcare sector and a demonstration of lack of confidence in the healthcare system of Nigeria despite his campaign promises to reposition the sector thereby tackling the deteriorating health sector. It also sends a negative signal to Nigerians that our hospitals, doctors and other paramedics are not confident enough to managed health challenges of its citizens.
Dr Muhammad Sani Waziti, retired entomologist, Bauchi
The situation has exposed the inefficiency of President Buhari’s administration to reposition the healthcare sector. The strike action of the resident doctors has also unveiled the myriad of problems threatening Nigeria’s health system. Even though the president has been going to London for medical care, the recent trip has brought to the fore his failure to end medical tourism abroad.
Joseph Okuwofu, Farmer, 58, Ibadan
Let me start by saying Nigerians in UK is justified by chasing him back to Nigeria. Buhari who promised Heaven and Earth before 2015 are now going on a routine medical trip in the UK. Mr President should come back home, to reset federal government hospitals, all the teaching hospitals that are presently in bad shape.
It is appropriate for him to lead by example, and not by mere words. Nigerians are languishing, lack access to quality health care. Why can’t Mr. President revamp the nation’s tertiary healthcare facilities, and ensure he is treated here? Doctors at University College Hospital (UCH) suspended surgeries simply because they lack water in the hospital. That is how low the state of facilities is in Nigerian hospitals. It is a shame. Nigerians need to remind Mr. President what he promised in 2015 during his campaign, that he will make sure he abolished going abroad for medical treatment. He assured Nigerians that when elected, no government official will have cause to embark on a medical trip abroad. But, today, it is a high level of absurdity.
Hassan Ibrahim, Bauchi, Hope Abah Emmanuel, Makurdi & Jeremiah Oke, Ibadan