Endless Strike in the Health Sector, WHO IS TO BLAME?
While Nigeria battles multiple concurrent disease outbreaks amidst the COVID 19 pandemic, which has caused unprecedented disruption in healthcare services, the country’s healthcare workforce has gone on strike several times.
Aggravating the problem, patients are left without care and access to services. Patients, particularly the disadvantaged who cannot afford private hospitals, are complaining as a result of this move.
While the intention behind these periodic strikes may be legitimate, the average man on the street always takes the brunt of the loss, given the fact that more than half of Nigerians live on less than $1 per day.
Women with pregnancies, people with chronic ailments, and parents of children under five with low incomes are especially at risk in this situation.
LEADERSHIP recalls that the Nigeria Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) began a nationwide indefinite strike on September 7th, 2020.
The strike was suspended on September 11th. As a result, the Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU) launched a nationwide strike at all federal health facilities three days later.
Again, NARD gave the federal government until March 31st, 2021 to meet its demands before threatening action by going on strike on April 1st.
A Memorandum of Action (MOA) signed at the instance of Minister of Labour, Dr. Chris Ngige, ended the strike after 10 days.
In collaboration with the WHO, the Federal Ministry of Health has launched the Nigeria Health Workforce Profile 2018, an update of the 2012 profile, and handed over the Nigeria Health Workforce Registry.
Nigeria has a ratio of one doctor for every 2,753 people, whereas WHO recommends one doctor for every 600 people.
The report also showed that 74,543 medical doctors were registered with the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN), which equates to 36.3 medical doctors per 100,000 people; a doctor to population ratio of 1: 2753.
The data showed a variation in the distribution of medical doctors by the state of practice from the reported 2012 density, as the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), in 2012, had the highest density of 82 medical doctors per 100,000 population.
However, Katsina’s rate decreased from 2.5 per 100,000 population in 2012 to 2.0 per 100,000 population, and Zamfara’s rate increased from 2.5 per 100,000 population to 2.7 per 100,000 population.
As a result, stakeholders are concerned that despite the brain drain in the sector, the government does not care about the few remaining employees.
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