Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) has lamented the poor salaries of health workers in the country saying it makes many doctors leave to other countries for better remuneration.
Its national president Dr Uche Roland Ojinmah made the lamentation yesterday during the opening ceremony of the 2022 National Executive Council (NEC) meeting of the association held at Gombe International Hotel, Gombe.
Ojinmah said doctors in Nigeria were underpaid and lack equipment and conducive environment to work, hence they opt to leave out of the country for greener pastures which causes shortage of manpower in the health sector.
Aside the poor salaries, the association’s president also decried underfunding of the health facilities by the Nigerian government complaining that it does not implement the Abuja 2001 declaration that recommended allocation of 15 per cent to the health care.
“The sad part is that in 2001, all the heads of states in Africa gathered in Abuja to hold a meeting on how to improve the health sector. And at the end, they had a declaration that 15 percent of the annual budget of every nation should be dedicated to health care.
“Since that time, Nigeria was a place they held the meeting, but we didn’t have up to 15 per cent. So it is obvious that they know what to do to make it better, but maybe for political reasons, they are not. The next thing is this, the equipment is not coming. Government says they are broke. But I don’t know how they still sustain the national assembly and other places that are running.
“The next issue is to maintain the health manpower. I don’t need to tell you that the health workers are leaving. If you like, check the manifest of those going to Canada, UK, America, Saudi Arabia, Qatar. Why? Because they are not well paid.
“They don’t have facilities to work with here and they don’t have a good environment. We need a conducive working environment; we need equipment and we need to be well paid. If I leave this country today to Saudi Arabia, I can’t get less than N60 million a month. What are they paying me (here)? Less than N600, 000. It doesn’t make sense,” he said.