There are currently about 42,000 doctors in Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country with more than 210 million people.
Of the doctors, 16,000 are resident doctors who participate in the strike organised by the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD).
It is the fourth time that Zubaida and her colleagues have gone on strike since the coronavirus pandemic began last year. This time around, they insist their action would not be suspended until the demands – including pay rise and payment of previous unpaid salaries; an increase of hazard allowance; better facilities and equipment – are met by the government.
Those doctors, who are pivotal to the country’s front-line healthcare, have long complained of being ill-equipped, overworked and underfunded. Some of them, even in metropolises such as Lagos and Abuja, have not received their salaries for months.
This year, the government has reportedly allocated just 4 percent of the entire budget for the health ministry, leaving already crumbling public hospitals due to chronic underfunding under a lot of strain.
"Samihana Mustafa", a doctor in central Nasarawa state, explained, the system was in an “appalling condition” as people die in the hospitals because of “avoidable causes”.