The Nigerian Medical Association has lambasted the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, for saying developed nations like the United States and the United Kingdom don’t pay resident doctors.

Ngige, who is also a medical doctor,  had berated the National Association of Resident Doctors for embarking on a nationwide strike, claiming that developed countries don’t pay resident doctors.

He had also stated on Channels Television that resident doctors in foreign countries actually pay the hospitals where they work while in Nigeria the reverse is the case.

Reacting in a statement by its National President,  Prof. Innocent Ujah; and its Secretary-General,  Dr Phillips Ekpe, the NMA knocked Ngige for his approach towards ending the strike.

The statement read in part, “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 NMA said in the US and other developed countries, resident doctors work as they are being trained and they are paid by their employers.

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

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 added.

The association said that 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.

“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,” the NMA said.