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Kuni Tyessi in Abuja
The President, Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Chapter and the Medical Director, Nyanya General Hospital, Dr. Ekpe Philips Uche, has revealed that up to 40 per cent of doctors in Nigeria are unemployed.
He added that after their National Youth Service Corp (NYSC) programme, it takes an average of a year or two to get employment which is usually offered by private hospitals and they are under paid.
Uche who spoke in Abuja at the national round-table discussion on Accountability for Maternal Health, which was organised by Women Advocates Research and Documentation Centre (WARDC) and Centre for Reproductive Rights, New York, said inasmuch as Nigeria is bereft in the quantity with medical personnel, the ones on ground are not utilised through engagement.
He said to reduce maternal mortality, there was need to engage capable hands with the prerequisite qualifications to work in the Primary Healthcare Centres (PHCs) as it is not about building the structure and recruiting incapable hands.
“At the end of the day, we lose out on our best hands that are supposed to take care of our patients. Ideally doctors are not enough, including pharmacists and nurses.
“We should keep the ones we have but unfortunately, the government of the day is not keeping them.
“We have so many doctors roaming the streets of Nigeria without jobs. Up to 40 per cent of them are unemployed. Many of them are taken up by private hospitals who do not even pay them well,” he said.
The Executive Director, WARDC, Dr. Abiola Akiyode-Adolabi in her speech, said maternal health issue was a human right concern and that government has the obligations to ensure that women’s rights were respected, promoted and protected.
“It is our belief that beyond the much touted medical and social reasons for maternal deaths, preventable and needless deaths of women at childbirth constitute a violation of fundamental rights, including right to life and eight to family life,” she said.