Sen. (Dr.), Chris Ngige, Honourable Minister for Labour and Employment

NMA lambastes Labour Minister for comparison with resident doctors in UK, US

*The Nigerian Medical Association says it has clarified the ‘misinformation’ by Sen. (Dr.), Chris Ngige, Minister for Labour and Employment, seriously viewed to be a hate speech capable of bringing down the health system, and worsening the healthcare delivery system in the country

Alexander Davis | ConsumerConnect

The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) has carpeted Sen. (Dr.), Chris Ngige, Honourable Minister for Labour and Employment, for saying developed countries, such as the United States (US) and United Kingdom (UK) do not pay resident doctors.

The NMA stressed that instead of worsening the lingering crisis in the Nigerian health sector, the government must prioritise and improve the healthcare delivery to Nigerians and at the same time improve the welfare of medical practitioners and other health workers.

Sen. Ngige, who is also a medical doctor, in an interview in Channels TV had criticised the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) for embarking on a nationwide strike.

He was quoted to have said that “developed countries don’t pay resident doctors.”

Resident doctors in foreign countries actually pay the hospitals where they work while in Nigeria the reverse is the case, said Ngige.

However, in a reaction to the Minister’s submission, Prof. Innocent Ujah, National President; and Dr. Phillips Ekpe, Secretary-General of NMA in a statement lambasted Dr. Ngige in respect of his approach to ending the ongoing industrial action by the union.

The statement said: “The attention of the NMA has been drawn to a recent live interview granted on Channels TV on Friday, April 2, 2021, by the Minister of Labour, Dr. Chris Ngige.

“In the interview, the minister alleged that in the USA and other developed countries, resident doctors pay for their residency training abroad, whereas, in Nigeria, the government pays them.

“In as much as we appreciate the efforts being made by the government to resolve the issues that have led to this avoidable and unnecessary industrial action by NARD, the NMA wishes to clarify the misinformation by the minister in the interview, which is seriously viewed to be a hate speech capable of bringing down the health system in Nigeria and thereby worsening the health care delivery and further escalate the rather unimaginable current brain drain.”

The Association stated that in the US and other developed countries of the world, resident doctors work as they are being trained and they are paid by their employers.

It noted: “In the United Kingdom, the employer of resident doctors is the NHS, which is similar to what is obtainable in Nigeria.”

The NMA stated that residents also pay to take their postgraduate medical examinations in developed countries, which is what also obtains in Nigeria.

“The NMA is totally in disagreement with the way and manner some government functionaries carry out their duties which is completely insensitive to the plight of the people.

“Accountability is the fulcrum for good governance in all facets and we do not demand anything less from those charged with the responsibility of governing the people,” it stressed.

According to the NMA, in order to resolve the lingering crisis in the health sector, the government must prioritise and improve the healthcare delivery to Nigerians and at the same time improve the welfare of medical practitioners and other health workers.

It argued that this is the most sustainable means of delivering quality health care to the people who in the first place elected them.

The statement added: “Perhaps, this will help to reduce the current brain drain being experienced that is dealing a deadly blow to our health care delivery system, which has made our hospitals to be regarded as mere consulting clinics.”

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