President Buhari’s Pledge to End “Medical Tourism” Haunts him in London as Thousands of Nigerians Protest His Numerous Medical Trips

Resident doctors in Nigeria, Africa's most populous country have embarked on an indefinite nationwide strike. Their strike was announced on April 1st, just two days after the country’s President, Muhammadu Buhari left for London, in the United Kingdom for medical treatment. This is one of several trips Buhari has made to the United Kingdom for medical reasons since becoming president in 2015.

 

Nigeria's resident doctors on strike over pay, inadequate facilities (C) CGTN

 

President Buhari's constant trips abroad seem to confirm the complaints of the doctors that they work under deplorable conditions. The resident doctors who represent 40 per cent of Nigeria's doctors are demanding an immediate payment of salaries owed to house officers, a review of the current hazard allowance for all health workers and payment of outstanding Covid-19 allowances, especially for tertiary institutions.  

 

 

Talks are ongoing to ease the tension, but past failed promises are making an agreement difficult (c) BBC

 

Dr. Uyilawa Okhuaihesuyi, President of the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) refuted the government's statement that the strike had been called off after the doctors signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Federal Minister of Labor and Employment. Dr. Uyilawa added that they are tired of signing MoUs and want implementation, especially because they have lost about 17 doctors due to Covid-19.

 

Dr. Uyilawa Okhuaihesuyi says the time to take empty promises from the government is over (C) NewsFinale

 

President Buhari's medical trip abroad could not have come at a worse time. As Africa grapples with the devastating fallouts of a worldwide pandemic, the strike by the resident doctors of Nigeria once more shines the spotlight on inadequate investment in crumbling health infrastructure where leaders would rather spend millions to take themselves and their families abroad than invest at home for the benefit of all.

 

Meanwhile, Nigerians resident abroad turned out in London to protest and demand President Buhari returns home and invest in the health sector as he said when he ran for president in 2015, promising to be the president who would end “medical tourism”.