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We Cried After Receiving Our First Pay In Foreign Countries, Say Nigerian Doctors

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Some Nigerian doctors in SaudiArabia, the United Kingdom and the United States of America have knocked the Federal Government for its alleged failure to invest in the health care sector.

The doctors, who spoke in separate interviews with Sunday PUNCH, said the inconsistency of the government to adequately cater for the needs of medical practitioners had led to massive brain drain in the health sector.

Some of the doctors who shared their experiences with our correspondents added that they cried and felt overwhelmed when they received their first wages, which some of them described as being 10 times higher than the wages in Nigeria.

One of the doctors, who spoke to one of our correspondence on condition of anonymity, said he was stunned when he received his first salary in Saudi Arabia.

He said,

“To be honest, I was overwhelmed that I cried when I received my first salary in Saudi Arabia here. While I was in Nigeria, my salary was N113,450. Out of this, I had to take care of myself and my parents. It was just difficult coupled with the workload. There were times I had to attend to tons of patients.

“When the opportunity came to go to Saudi, I was a bit skeptical because some people were trying to discourage me. I just told myself that it was better to leave than to die here. Now, I work in the General Services Department in Riyadh here. I earn way more (than I did in Nigeria).

“I enjoy 36-day paid leave, good working conditions and my flight ticket was paid by Saudi Arabia. It is just sad that the Nigerian Government, in every way, has always tried to frustrate the medical profession. Every time you hear of industrial actions, salaries are not paid, no allowances.”

Another Nigerian doctor based in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, who simply identified himself as Kingsley, said relocating abroad was the best decision he had ever made.

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He stated,

“Before I left Nigeria, I was working at a national hospital. I came here in 2019. I didn’t want to come initially but when I heard that Saudi was proposing $3,000 to $8,333 (salary), I just knew I had to leave.

“Here, I only attend to four to eight patients (a day). Nigerian doctors are valued here; they really love the fact that we are so smart and intelligent. I would have loved to stay back home. The Nigerian Government really needs to do better. Nigeria will continue to lose better doctors if the country does not act fast.”

Another doctor, popularly known as Waka Waka doctor on Twitter, recalled that he left Nigeria for Saudi Arabia some years ago, adding that his life had witnessed a remarkable change.

He said,

“When I arrived, I was hosted in a hotel for two weeks, all paid. I never paid rent during my stay there; I never paid for electricity. My salary as a doctor in Nigeria combining two jobs was less than N120,000. In Saudi, I earned around 10 times that amount.

“Less workload; amazing state-of-the-art facilities; good hospital management systems; health insurance; paid leave and free tickets for holidays.

“You can’t discredit the loneliness and struggle with the language to start with but that passes with time. Nigerian doctors are among the brightest and best anywhere in the world; all we ask is to be treated right, given proper remuneration that matches our skills and also improve the health system in the country of our birth.”

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Ojogwu Godwin Chukwudi hailed from Delta State. A young talented personality, Alumnus of Delta State university,Abraka Studied Library and information science. He is an intellectual cyber communicator expert and a prolific blogger professional.

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