The Nigeria’s Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, had in a recent video clip claimed that resident doctors were paying the governments in the United States of America and the United Kingdom, while in residency training programs. This implies that residents in those countries are not on a salary and that the Nigerian government is doing favours by paying resident doctors.
In the widely circulated video clip, Dr Ngige featuring in Channels Television programme, ‘Politics Today’ incorrectly claimed that medical doctors in developed countries like the US and UK paid government to get trained, while in Nigeria it was the government that paid the doctors allowance and salary during their residency training.
‘Concerned Medics Foundation,’ CMF, is a group of doctors of Nigerian origin residing and practicing all over the world, most of them have been trained in the U.K., U.S., Australia and Ireland. We, therefore, found it necessary to correct this misleading information from Dr Chris Ngige.
Resident doctors don’t pay for their training in the U.S., Europe, New Zealand, and Australia, as stated by the honourable minister of health. Taking the U.K. as an example, not only are trainees (i.e. residents) paid a reasonable salary for the long hours involved, but are also reimbursed for courses, exams, transportation and conferences we attend. Similar practices pertain to other countries like Australia, the USA and Canada. One of our members, currently a G.P. in the U.K., shared this in our ‘Concerned Medics Foundation’ Telegram group:
“I didn’t have to pay for training in the U.K. My salary was the same with U.K. citizens at an equivalent level and working similar hours. I didn’t have to pay to write pre-training exams. I got reimbursed for transportation fare used to go and write those exams, which means even if one doesn’t pass the pre-entry exams or one doesn’t accept the training offer, one gets expenses incurred to write the exam covered.”
We are aware that the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) in Nigeria has embarked on an indefinite strike over a payment dispute with Nigeria’s government. We advise that the Federal Government of Nigeria should immediately engage NARD to resolve this issue as soon as possible. This is particularly crucial in the context of the current COVID-19 pandemic, increasing stress and burnout experienced by doctors across the globe.
We appealed to the federal government of Nigeria to address this dispute through timely payment of salaries and enhanced working conditions for doctors, which would undoubtedly translate into improved patient care in Nigeria.
We wish to thank Nigerian doctors for their dedication and commitment to patients care despite all the current challenges in Nigeria.