Presidential Order and A Populace At Risk!
It is no longer news that the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in his "wisdom", last week Wednesday came up with the most bewildering and drastic of responses to the now over 6-week old nationwide doctors strike by the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), by indefinitely suspending residency training in the country and the subsequent termination of the appointment of about 16,000 doctors presently enrolled in specialist training in the country.
While I was not particularly shocked to hear the news, I continue to be burdened by the consequences of such an action in the light of the sorry state of the health sector presently. It will be interesting to see what the Government has up it's sleeves in the coming days, weeks or even months, in terms of filling the huge vacuum left by the sacked resident doctors who make up about 60% of registered doctors presently practicing in the country. There is no doubt that the plan of employing locum doctors on a 6-month contract basis alone will not suffice for a populace that has being hugely under-served even in the prior era.
That's true , there's the Nigerian populace!!...A Population Base of 167,000,000 who should be perhaps as worried as I am. They should actually be asking how the Government intends to provide access to adequate specialist medical care if specialists will no longer be trained by hospitals they pay taxes to maintain. Nigerians should be wondering if the Government is going to bring in foreign expatriates (like was once done!) to fill up the hole it would have created in the sector and at what cost adequate healthcare would now be available to the masses. Whether the Government will pay more to maintain the expatriates than it would have to meet some of the demands of the striking doctors and upgrade infrastructure in our fast-rotting away medical schools built in the 1960s and '70s would also be a valid question at this time.
I do think that it is extremely important that the Nigerian people understand the intricacies of this "remarkable" Presidential order especially in a country such as ours, where a striking majority of our elected leaders and their families seek medical attention for as little as a running nose outside the country. It becomes even more necessary for the populace to be aware of the possible ripple effect of such a decision as made by the Federal Government standing in the coming weeks to months and should subsequently begin asking the questions that really matter, as it stands logical that only the wearer of a tight pair of shoes knows for sure where it hurts.
While the Nigerian Medical Association have openly condemned the obnoxious sack and are ever resolute to challenge the order, I strongly believe, that the Nigerian populace have even more to fight for, not just in response to this preposterous directive but for the quality of healthcare they deserve in every single part of the country.