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Politics Again, Jonathan Fails to Learn from History - Leadership


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The recent sack of 16,000 resident doctors by President Goodluck Jonathan came as a rude shock to most Nigerians and the international community, even as the deadly Ebola virus disease (EVD) remains a challenge. The sack was contained in a directive by Mr Jonathan to the Federal Ministry of Health to suspend all residency training programmes for Nigerian doctors. Resident doctors are doctors being trained to become specialists/consultants in different fields of medicine. During their four to five years’ training to become consultants, they work in different government hospitals and make up about 90 per cent of doctors in teaching hospitals.

The sack came at an inauspicious time when the president is supposed to give priority to reversing the current challenge of dearth of doctors in the country which has led to a scandalously poor doctor-patient ratio of 1 to 6,400 in Nigeria as against the World Health Organization’s standard of 1 to 600. Cuba has a ratio of 1 doctor to 125 people, according to experts. The 2011 Mo Ibrahim African Governance Index rating had ranked the Nigerian health service 51 out of 53 countries in Africa. Aside the EVD outbreak, the sack came despite a WHO report which revealed that 59,000 Nigerian women die annually from pregnancy and child birth; only 39 per cent of births are delivered by skilled health professionals and the risk of a woman dying from child birth is 1 in 18 in Nigeria, compared to 1 in 61 for all developing countries and 1 in 800 in developed countries.

The problem of inadequate doctors in Nigerian hospitals is a direct function of poor human resources planning and structures, unsatisfactory working conditions, poor remuneration, and scarce professional development opportunities, according to the ex-national president of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), Osahon Enabulele, who described the current “presidential order” to sack the doctors as “most un-statesmanly, unsustainable and ill-advised approach towards the resolution of the challenges in the health sector”.

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Source: #Leadership


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