Nigeria-born US medical doctor, Dr. Marindoti Oludare, has described on-going warning strike by resident doctors in Nigeria as a recurring decimal, urging the incoming administration of the President-elect, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, to evolve an effective health insurance scheme that would nip the problem in the bud.
Oludare who is Convener/National Coordinator of Social Rehabilitation Gruppe (SRG) spoke on a Television Continental (TVC) programme at the weekend, stressing that the demands of the doctors were valid but that government needed to evolve policies that would stabilise healthcare delivery in Nigeria.
” The way to start is to work on the Nigerian economy in such a way that the youths will be empowered through job provisions.
“When they are gainfully employed, they will be able to contribute immensely to the National Health Insurance Scheme that allows the young and active population to fund the medical bills of the elderly and physically challenged citizenry. This same fund can also take care of doctors’ residency and other welfare needs to make medics perform optimally,” he counselled.
While adminiting that the doctors’ demand for a 200% increase in their consolidated salary was valid, he demurred that demands for salary increase from doctors and other health workers would continue to recur, if the issue of Nigeria’s debilitating economic situation was not urgently addressed.
He, as such, asked that government should in the interim, invite the doctors to a negotiation table to find a middle ground.
This is even as the medic also described the utterances of the Labour Minister, Dr. Chris Ngige, as regrettable, quoting him as having said that “the doctors are suffering from entitlement syndrome”.
Besides, Oludare noted that the five-year compulsory work period before doctors could be licensed as a way of dissuading them from running abroad, is at best of no effect, as foreign countries don’t need a Nigerian licence to engage any qualified doctor.
“The Nigerian licence that the doctors will have to obtain after working in Nigeria will only harm the medical doctors working in Nigeria. You don’t need a Nigerian licence before you can practise medicine outside Nigeria. So these things are very valid and very sane demands that they (the doctors) are making on the federal government.
“However, when the federal government comes out and meets the demands of the doctors, other health workers will also come up with theirs; so, .there is a need for rethinking on the way the healthcare financing goes on in Nigeria, essentially.
“That is one thing that will bring a lasting solution. There should be a one-to-one replacement of doctors. The strike is for the benefit of the people. What is the essence of you going to a doctor who is not motivated and as cannot under such condition be focused?” He wondered.