Nigeria: Medical doctors go on unlimited strike

In Nigeria, resident doctors in public hospitals began an indefinite strike on Monday, September 7, with at least three demands: better social security coverage, improved working conditions and higher salaries.

With a monthly salary of around 500 euros, the resident doctors of Nigerian public hospitals have been demanding an increase in their remuneration for several years. Africa’s most populous country and the continent’s leading economy finances health services to a small extent.

The National Association of Hospital Interns, which represents 40% of Nigerian doctors, is at the origin of the social movement.

The union had launched three months ago a week-long strike movement to protest against the inadequacy of the equipment provided to the personnel in charge of handling Covid-19 cases. The president of the union, Aliyu Sokomba, hopes that the personnel in charge of treating the cases of Covid-19 will join the movement this time.

In addition to the demand for wage increases, trade unionists are demanding the payment of arrears for 2014, 2015 and 2016. According to a 2017 survey conducted by NOI polls, Nigeria’s largest polling firm, nine out of 10 doctors were considering leaving the country because of poor salaries and abysmal working conditions. When given the opportunity, most of them try their luck by emigrating to Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom.