Abass Oluwaseyi Ajayi, a surgeon based in Zaria, Kaduna state, has urged the Nigerian government to employ more health workers in health facilities, noting that medical officers are overworked.
Ajayi made the call while sharing his personal experience as the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) continues.
He noted that tertiary hospitals in the country need a larger workforce to meet the needs of patients, leading to burnout for the ones on duty.
”As a medical officer in a tertiary hospital in Nigeria, I once was on call for five days straight. I never left the hospital premises. I fed on junk and slept in a call room, and did not have a bath for three days.
”One day, a consultant looked at me, shocked and asked, ‘Why are you looking like this?’ I replied, ‘I have been on call for five days.’
”He said, ‘Why didn’t you go home?’ I told him if I go home and there’s an emergency, and a patient dies, I would be held responsible. He said, ‘True, but you should find time to go home.’ In my mind, I was like, what time?
”Well, he still made sure I went on rounds with him despite the fact I looked like an escapee from a mental asylum. At the end of the fifth day, I met another consultant and told him I was going home.
”I slept for two days and damned the consequences. I resumed on day three, and no one asked me how I was or if I was ok; work just went on.
”We need to employ more health workers.. 1:1 replacement is a must because burnout is real!!”
Stories like that of Ajayi abound in the medical sector, which led to the strike by NARD.
The association recently rejected a 25 per cent basic salary increase offered by the government.
The Nigerian Medical Association also declared support for the striking resident doctors, warning the government against steps that would further worsen the precarious situation of medical service delivery in the country.