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Buhari medical check-up continues in London as Nigerian doctors’ strike hits 10th day

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There is no end in sight yet for the strike currently embarked on by the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD), president of the association Uyilawa Okhuaihesuyi told The ICIR on Wednesday.  

The NARD’s decision to down tools entered the 10th day on Wednesday, despite threat by the Federal Government to sack them.

The House Committee on Healthcare Services meeting with NARD on Monday and Tuesday failed to resolve the impasse that led to the strike.

The Federal Government is yet to meet with the doctors.

The NARD’s strike has come at the time the Federal Government declared that the country had slipped into the third wave of COVID-19.

NARD, last week, resumed the strike it suspended in April, following the alleged government’s failure to meet its demands.

Though NARD’s strike was 10 days old on Wednesday, the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) in Ondo State had been on strike since June over unpaid salary, its chairman Stella Adegbehingbe told our reporter.

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Adegbehingbe said that her colleagues rejected payment of 50 per cent salary to them by the state government.

The ICIR had reported in June how doctors in the state were resigning over unpaid salaries.

Nigeria had a doctor-patient ratio of 1:2,753 in 2020, according to the Federal Government.

The World Health Organization’s minimum recommended ratio is one doctor to between 400 and 600 patients.

The effort by our reporter to obtain the number of licensed doctors currently working in the country was unsuccessful, as the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria did not have the data on its website.

But former Minister of Health Isaac Adewole had said in 2018 that MDCN had 88,692 doctors registered in its books as of May that year.

He said that of the figure, only 45,000 practised, giving a ratio of one doctor to 4,088 persons.

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An estimated 38,000 Nigerian-trained doctors are practising in the UK alone.

The WHO notes that countries with the lowest relative need have the highest numbers of health workers, while those with the highest burden of disease make do with a much smaller health workforce.

The African region suffers more than 22 per cent of the global burden of disease but has access to only three per cent of health workers and less than one per cent of the world’s financial resources, the WHO said.

Nigeria parades most of the disease burdens, highest maternal and child mortalities globally.

In a recent report by The ICIR, public relations officer of National Hospital Abuja Tayo Hastrupp said NARD members who had gone on strike constituted a ‘chunk’ of doctors working at the facility.

Coincidentally, President Muhammadu Buhari is currently in London for a medical check-up.

The NARD had gone on strike two times when the president left Nigeria for the UK for treatment this year.

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But its president said they were a coincidence.

Buhari jetted out of Nigeria to London on March 30, two days after the doctors had vowed to down tools over unmet demands.

The doctors made good their threat and embarked on a nationwide strike on April 1. 

The strike lasted for a week after NARD reached an agreement with the government.

This time, Buhari moved to London on July 26 for a medical check-up and participated at the Global Education Summit on Financing Global Partnership for Education (GPE) 2021-2025.

National leader of the governing All Progressives Congress Bola Tinubu is also in a London hospital for care.

Tinubu has been variously reported as one of the possible contenders for Nigeria’s presidency in 2023.

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