Nigerian doctors in their hundreds, on Tuesday, stormed the Ladi Kwali Hall of the Sheraton Hotels, Abuja, as a consultancy firm, Meeds Consultancy, commenced interviews for those willing to work in Saudi Arabia.
The firm organised the interview on behalf of the Saudi Arabia Ministry of Health.
Medical doctors in various fields such as anaesthesia, ICU, paediatrics and surgery, family medicine and others stormed the venue as early as 6.45am.
Punch correspondent noted that as of the 7am scheduled commencement time, those who arrived at the large hall had a hectic time to get seats.
Some of the doctors, who spoke to The Punch, lamented the poor conditions of service, poor investment in the health sector, inconsistent salary payments, among others.
A medical consultant, Ahmadu Balarabe, who works at a teaching hospital in the North-West, stated, “Look around you, I am sure you can see old people here. This is the situation we have found ourselves in this country. We cannot continue to work in a degraded health system.
“Let us even talk about the NARD strike. These young doctors have been on strike and the next thing the government does is to sue them. Where is this done?
“Most of them (government officials) don’t care about the sector, because they know they can disappear to foreign countries. Well, we are also going to join them.
“I have some of my fellow consultants with several years of practice, who are also here to try their luck.”
Another medical doctor, Vivian Okolo, said, “Concerning the number of doctors here, I am heartbroken. When I came in here, I wanted to cry. Over 90 per cent of the people you see here are consultants.
“Consultants are the ones who train resident doctors. When they leave, who will train the upcoming doctors? But you can’t blame them, because we all are looking for better conditions of service.
“I left medical school in 2011; my teacher who taught me in the medical school is here, a seasoned paediatrics consultant.”
Another medical doctor, Femi Jaiyeola, blamed the Federal Government for the large turnout of doctors willing to migrate.
He said, “One of the persons we met when we came in said they were expecting close to 600 doctors. The government is to be blamed for this.
“Someone even asked me if I was not scared of going to an Islamic country since I am a Christian. I told him even Ehanire (Minister of Health) will come here if he has the opportunity. Saudi Arabia is offering more than we can ever earn in Nigeria.”