We shed tears of joy after receiving first paycheck in Saudi Arabia, UK and others – Nigerian doctors

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Some Nigerian doctors in Saudi Arabia, the United Kingdom and the United States of America have slammed the federal government for its alleged failure to invest in the healthcare sector.

The doctors, who spoke in separate interviews with Sunday PUNCH, said the government’s inconsistency in adequately meeting the needs of doctors had led to a massive brain drain in the healthcare sector.

Some of the doctors who shared their experiences with our penpals added that they cried and felt overwhelmed when they received their first salary, which some of them described as being 10 times higher than the salary at the time. Nigeria.

One of the doctors, who spoke to Sunday PUNCH on condition of anonymity, said he was stunned when he received his first salary in Saudi Arabia.

He said: “To be honest, I was upset that I cried when I got my first salary in Saudi Arabia here. While in Nigeria my salary was 113,450 N. From there I had to take care of myself and my parents. It was just difficult on top of the workload. There were times when I had to take care of tons of patients.

“When the opportunity arose to go to Arabia, I was a little skeptical because some people were trying to discourage me. I just thought it was better to leave than die here. Now I work in the general service department in Riyadh here. I earn a lot more (than in Nigeria).

“I am enjoying 36 days of paid leave, good working conditions and my plane ticket has been paid for by Saudi Arabia. It is just sad that the Nigerian government, in all respects, has always tried to frustrate the medical profession. Whenever you hear of industrial action, the wages are not paid, no compensation. ”

Another Nigerian doctor based in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, who simply identified himself as Kingsley, said moving abroad was the best decision he had ever made.

He said: “Before I left Nigeria, I worked in a national hospital. I came here in 2019. I didn’t want to come initially but when I heard that Arabia was offering $ 3,000 to $ 8,333 (salary) I knew I had to go.

“Here I only take care of four to eight patients (per day). Nigerian doctors are appreciated here; they really like that we’re so smart and smart. I would have loved to have stayed at home. The Nigerian government really needs to do better. Nigeria will continue to lose better doctors if the country does not act quickly. ”

Another doctor, known as Doctor Waka Waka on Twitter, recalled that he left Nigeria for Saudi Arabia a few years ago, adding that his life had seen a remarkable change.

He said: “When I arrived I was put up in a hotel for two weeks, all paid for. I never paid rent while I was there; I never paid for electricity. My salary as a doctor in Nigeria combining two jobs was less than N 120,000. In Saudi Arabia I was earning about 10 times that amount.

“Less workload; amazing state-of-the-art facilities; good hospital management systems; health insurance; paid holidays and free tickets for the holidays.

“You can’t discredit the loneliness and struggle with the tongue to begin with, but it passes over time. Nigerian doctors are some of the brightest and best in the world; all we ask is to be treated well, with appropriate remuneration that matches our skills and also to improve the health system in our country of birth.

Likewise, UK-based GP Dr Bob Uge (assumed name), who moved in 2020 following COVID-19, said his overseas experience as a doctor was much better than that of Nigeria.

He said: “I was in a general hospital in the North where I was paid 111,000 N, which did not even come as I went. Here in the UK I earn almost 10 times that amount – yes, 10 times that amount!

“They respect Nigerian doctors abroad; unlike in Nigeria where a CMD (Chief Medical Director) will make you work to death and always complain that you are not doing anything.

Another doctor, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said he had just moved to the United States in July, adding that he was amazed when he received his first salary.

The optometrist, who works with the Cleveland Clinic, Avon, OH, said, “I called my colleagues to report me. I thought I was overpaid when I had just taken over. I didn’t even do anything substantial.

“If a doctor decides to leave, I blame the government. If you see Nigerian doctors here you will be amazed. The situation will continue to worsen until the government decides to change.

Stakeholders denounce government policies, say poor working conditions are responsible for exodus

Some stakeholders in the health sector have cited government policies, poor working conditions, low wages and the search for a better standard of living as the main reasons for the exodus of Nigerian doctors to other countries.

They stressed the need for the government to speed up the negotiation process with the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors in order to prevent ongoing industrial action.

Surveys by Sunday PUNCH revealed that a recruitment process organized by the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Health in Abuja saw a high participation of consultants, senior doctors and others in a hurry to practice in the Middle Eastern country.

The Trinidad and Tobago Medical Council in an email exchange with Sunday PUNCH Friday also revealed that as many as 344 Nigerian doctors were registered on the council.

According to information shared with one of our correspondents, 235 of these doctors were trained in Nigerian universities.

In addition, information obtained from the General Medical Council of Britain highlighted that as many as 4,528 trained Nigerian doctors have registered with the council in order to practice in the UK.

Other checks by Sunday PUNCH showed that the average number of Nigerian doctors trained in the UK increased from an average of 1.3 per day between July and December 2020 to 3.3 per day in April and May 2021.

Between June 7 and June 8, 2020 – a span of 24 hours – around seven trained Nigerian doctors were licensed by the UK.

Nigeria has the third highest number of foreign doctors working in the UK after India and Pakistan. However, Nigeria suffers from a shortage of doctors.

The Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria estimates the total number of registered physicians in Nigeria at 74,543 for a population of approximately 200 million.

This puts the doctor-to-patient ratio in the country at 1: 3,500.

This is well below the World Health Organization recommendation of 1: 600.

A 2018 NOI poll also showed 88% of Nigerian doctors were considering overseas work opportunities, but experts said the figure could be higher due to growing insecurity and the economic crisis. .

Other popular destinations for Nigerian-trained doctors are the United States, Canada, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Australia.

NARD defends the choices of doctors

NARD National President Dr Uyilawa Okhuaihesuyi, in an interview with Sunday PUNCH, defended the mass migration of doctors.

He said: “Globally, every migration is largely based on two factors, namely ‘push’ and ‘pull’. Your question is essentially about attraction (what attracts); higher wages, better employment opportunities, a higher standard of living and finally, educational opportunities. These are largely the causes that attract doctors and other caregivers.

“Doctors are generally from different settings. We have internal officers who are called first year graduates. In the UK, they earn between £ 2,000 and £ 3,000 (N 1,122,000 to N 1,683,000 to £ 1 to N561) per month. Registrars, known as ST3 and FY2 earn around £ 45,000 to £ 75,000 (N 25,245,000-N 42,075,000) per year. No Nigerian medical professor will earn that until he retires. But his students he taught will gain that in two or three years abroad.

“In Saudi Arabia, they earn between $ 3,000 and $ 10,000 per month, depending on years of experience. This gives you some economic leverage minus the fact that you are working under the best working conditions.

“In Nigeria, medical residents are paid between 280,000 and 300,000 N in federal institutions per month. States pay N110,000 to N150,000 per month. Consultants of federal institutions are paid between 540,000 and 580,000 naira per month.

“Years ago, emigration was just young doctors, but now almost all specialist courses are open to different doctors. So even our near-retired professors when they realize how small their reserves are and how they can improve them, they move away without thinking about it. ”

A former president of the Nigerian Medical Association, Dr Francis Faduyile, backed up the NARD president’s claims.

He said, “If things are relatively stable here, I see no reason why anyone would want to move to other countries. This shows that these options abroad are better than the ones they have at home. Unfortunately, I am not one of those who want to go, but I know the working environment in Nigeria is tough.

Another former NMA boss, Professor Mike Ogirima, confirmed to one of our correspondents that the government of Saudi Arabia pays Nigerian doctors more than the Nigerian government.

According to Ogirima, Saudi Arabia pays Nigerian medical teachers between N5m and N7m per month while the federal government pays its counterparts in the country between N420,000 and N500,000.

Sunday PUNCH reports that the ongoing NARD class action, which began on August 2, 2021, entered the 27th day today (Sunday).

The federal government appealed to the NMA to try to prevent the ongoing strike.

Likewise, the Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, had written on August 26, 2021 to the CMDs and MDs of the establishments to invoke a policy without work, without remuneration.

NARD, however, resisted the move, insisting she would not resume until her demands were met.

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