Emeka Nwaeze, a beauty salon entrepreneur, has been roaming here and there for months for the treatment of his mother. His 54-year-old mother is suffering from kidney failure disease, and she’s currently on dialysis. He’s been travelling his home in Owerri, the capital of southern Nigeria’s Imo state. One night, her condition became severe. And Nwaeze took her to the hospital as soon as possible.
However, doctors didn’t admit her by saying that they were going to start a strike. They tried to go to another hospital, but eventually, she ended up in a coma.
Later on, take took her to a private hospital. According to Nwaeze, the primary school teacher there was very unresponsive, by which her mother died a week later.
Mistakes of Hospital Staffs?
Now, this is not an isolated one. Since August 2, many Covid and cancer patients have been turning away by fewer staff hospitals. At the same time, several doctors are on strike. The reason for the strike is unpaid salaries and poor facilities that they want to fulfil and improve respectively. And due to such problems, many patients are left without being diagnosed and even not receiving treatment.
The doctors who are doing strike are saying that they do care about their patients. But their fight is against the government who failed consecutively in improving the hospital and healthcare system.
According to the resident doctor at a public hospital in Nigeria, Yahaya Zubaida, he became part of the strike because the government failed to fulfil any of its promises earlier.
Since starting of the covid-19 pandemic last year, it is now the 4th time when Zubaida and her colleagues chose to strike. And now they will stand against it until their demand of pay rise and payment of previous unpaid salaries, pay rise and payment of last unpaid wages etc., are fulfilled.
In return, the government replied that there would be no wages for those who didn’t work. They will freeze the payment of the participants by invoking the rule, “No Work, No Pay”.
Appalling condition for Hospital Patients
In Africa’s most populous country, Nigeria, with more than 210 million people, there are 42,000 doctors present at the time. Of which 16,000 are resident hospital doctors. And these resident hospital doctors are part of the National Association of Resident Doctors’ (NARD) strike.
The doctors who are centralised to the country’s primary health care complain for a long time about the poor equipment, workload, and due payment.
Most of the doctors of Lagos and Abuja haven’t received their due salaries yet. This year the government had offered only 4% of the entire budget to healthcare.
Once Mustafa referred a patient with severe hematemesis to another hospital for the endoscopy. Unfortunately, the endoscopy machine there was not working, and this cost the life of that patient.
After putting much effort, the patients there eventually pass away, which makes doctors even sadder. Their sadness is that if the system were a bit responsible, then that patient would have been saved.
The ruling elite and wealthy Nigerians travel to foreign for their medical services. And this majorly cost $2bn annually.
Due to such a lack, thousands of Nigerian doctors are moving to foreign countries. The places where they get good working conditions as well as better pay off. Last year during the mid of the strike, many doctors applied for the job in South Africa. However, only 7 positions were available there.
According to the Nigeria Health Watch survey, 88% of doctors choose foreign countries for better opportunities. Because of the reasonable payment and working facilities.