The current strike action by the Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU) which has almost crippled activities in public hospitals, may not end soon if the association insists on their demand of a salary parity with doctors.
This is because the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) says it would be an injustice to the doctors if the federal government accedes to JOHESU’s demands.
According to Francis Faduyile, President of the medical association of Nigeria, it is standard practice all over the world that doctors are paid higher than other health workers, adding the in the United States of America, some doctors are paid way higher that the President.
Faduyile explained that the relativity of doctors salary to that of other health workers used to be as high as 3.3 to 1 ratio, but that following the coming into existence of the Consolidated Medical Salary Structure (CONMESS) in 2014, the doctors agreed to lower their salary ratio as against that of other health workers to 1.5 to 1.
“This means over 50 per cent reduction and in our lower level we have appropriated relativity… The salary ratio of doctors and other health workers used to be 3.3 to 1.0 but today we have cut it down to 1.5 is to 1.0 so that peace will reign; but they just want it to be at par. But we are saying we have given so much to that level of 1.5 and we can’t go beyond that,” Faduyile said during an interview with Premium Times.
In some countries, even among doctors, there remuneration varies according to their specialisations, Faduyile argued. “In America … an anaesthetic doctor can collect up to five times the salary of a pathologist,” he said.
“And we must understand that in this JOHESU we have the cleaners, the drivers, the typists, we have the administrative staffs, we have the hospital engineer, we have all other type of people who are supportive staff… I am working as a doctor and I’m collecting N5; another person in service, who did not go through the kind of training I went through and is not working as much as I do, will still be collecting the same salary? Why am I going through all these stress then?” Faduyile queried.
“Doctors collect about N150,000 (at entry level, which is level 12). I am a consultant, I’ve been a consultant for more than 10 years and my salary is just a little above N500,000. With all the taxes, the money is even lesser.
“My counterpart in other African countries collect well above that and even a higher salary than Supreme Court judges.
“The judges collect nothing less than N2 million and for your information a neuro-surgeon in America collects more money than their president and we are working here, a typist is saying I must collect same salary with doctors.”
Asked what would happen if the federal government agrees to JOHESU’s demands of salary parity with Government, Faduyile said: “it will not affect our salary but it will be a bad morale to us.”
When ICIR contacted a Nigerian doctor practising in the United Kingdom, he said doctors are paid higher than other health workers.
“Typically doctors earn more than than other health care workers in the UK. I’m certain a Google search will lend credence to this, and this is the same practice in other countries,” the doctor said, preferring to remain anonymous in order not to further overheat the polity.
“Is it possible for a nurse to earn more than a doctor. It is possible. Usually such situations involves a nurse in managerial position, so she is not just a nurse, not just a matron but she is actively involved in running the Healthcare institution.
“And she only earn more compared to doctors who are not in managerial role. Once a doctor is also in managerial position, he/she will earn more than the nurse.”
Another demand by JOHESU is that their members should be allowed to contest for the post of Chief Medical Directors in public hospitals; a demand the NMA finds ridiculous.
“In NNPC for example, can a doctor working there say he wants to be the group managing director of NNPC? There are clinics in the ministry of justice which doctors and nurses run but can they say they want to be the attorney general because they and the lawyers work in the same ministry? So what question are we asking? The representatives of the cleaners and the administrators now want to be CMD? That will not go well for the health industry.”