By Dr Nwako Charles Nwaora (aka Dr CNN)
The Nigerian physicians are really all out to champion a new course for themselves in line with the current realities in Nigeria despite the "No Work , No Pay" threat. Many of the physicians have perfecte plans to exit the country for a greener pasture. Though, the Nigerian Nurses have been the major group migrating outside the country in the highest number & rate, the recent recruitment exercise by some Saudi Organisations has coincidentally orchestrated & added value to the claims by NMA that its members are exiting the country.
Also thousands of Nigerian Pharmacists are emigrating into many foreign countries en masse & unannounced . Hence, there is a total "Brain Drain" in Nigeria. The physicians have actually been "taking the Bull by the Horn" by severally down-tooling. The Nigerian Pharmacists & the Nurses are also among the major & core health Clinicians that are grossly under paid relative to what their counterparts earn abroad. The Physicians, Pharmacists & Nurses are majorly the health care professionals who are usually regarded as "3-Digits" salary earners in US as their salaries are usually over 100,000USD per annum.
After the 1st wave of Covid Pandemic, countries like the US & others started increasing the take home pay of the clinicians like the Physician, pharmacist & Nurses such that some Nurses now earn up to 15,000USD per month as their demands also have marginally increased. In Nigeria, the interprofessional rivalry among the health workers has become antithetical to the expected growth & welfare packages accruable to the health care professionals, especially the Physicians, Pharmacists & Nurses who are usually seen collaborating in most countries abroad. The sharp division has led to the almagamation of other health workers as a union while the physicians exist as an opposing union.
While the physicians appear to be making some waves, the Pharmacists & Nurses appear to be entrapped & entangled in a web. While most Government & Organisations abroad usually grant the nurses, pharmacists & physicians a decent "take-home" pay as the major pillar & core clinicians in the health sector based on the value & output of their contributions, these 3 core clinicians have allowed their geniun demands to be submerged by the "bogus" demands of many other health workers. Some of the health workers in Nigeria who are making "bogus" demands for appointment as specialists are regarded as technicians inother countries. Again, the take home pay of the core clinicians like the Nurses, Pharmacists, & Physicians cannot be compared with most other health workers in most countries.
There is always the difference between health workers & health care professionals as health Care Professionals are the core clinicians who have direct patient contact. The Physicians, Pharmacist & Nurses are the ones who operate as Consultants, Specialists, Prescribers, Diagnosticians, residents, etc & have seperate pay packages. The only way out of the present "mess" in the health sector is for the 3 core clinicians to unite & put pressure on the govt to improve their conditions of services, otherwise the Nigerian health sector will continue to collapse into a comatose state.