Surging COVID-19 Cases In US, Nigerian Doctors, Nurses Leave Their Country With Mixed Feelings


The Oasis Reporters



November 2, 2020



The lure of greener pastures abroad  is proving irresistible to poorly paid Nigerian nurses and doctors who are abandoning their home country in droves, and the reasons are not farfetched.

 

As of 2017, the expenditure on health in Nigeria amounted to 3.8 percent of the country’s GDP

Take France, Germany, the UK, or better still, the OECD countries, consider the percentage of their GDP that they spend on health.


Among OECD member countries, the United States had the highest percentage of gross domestic product spent on healthcare in 2018 – or latest year available. The U.S. spent nearly 17 percent of its GDP on health care services. Switzerland, France, and Germany followed the U.S. with distinctly smaller percentages. What makes the difference compared to other developed countries is the significantly higher private spending in the United States, while public health spending is on line with other developed countries.

OECD stands for Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. It is an economic organization consisting of 36 members, mostly high-income countries and committed to democratic principles and market economy. This makes OECD statistics more comparable than statistics of developed and undeveloped countries. Health economics is an important matter for the OECD, even more since increasing health costs and an aging population have become an issue for many developed countries.



Percentage of GDP spent on health care in select countries 2018

Among OECD member countries, the United States had the highest percentage of gross domestic product spent on health care in 2018 – or latest year available. The U.S. spent nearly 17 percent of its GDP on health care services. Switzerland, France, and Germany followed the U.S. with distinctly smaller percentages. What makes the difference compared to other developed countries is the significantly higher private spending in the United States, while public health spending is on line with other developed countries.


OECD stands for Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. It is an economic organization consisting of 36 members, mostly high-income countries and committed to democratic principles and market economy. This makes OECD statistics more comparable than statistics of developed and undeveloped countries. Health economics is an important matter for the OECD, even more since increasing health costs and an aging population have become an issue for many developed countries.
.


Health expenditure as a percentage of gross domestic product in selected countries in 2018
Percentage of gross domestic product
United States 16.9%
Switzerland 12.2%
Germany 11.2%
France 11.2%
Sweden 11%
Japan 10.9%
Canada 10.7%
Denmark 10.5%
Belgium 10.4%
Austria. 10.3%
Norway 10.2%
Netherlands 9.9%
United Kingdom 9.8%


For example, physicians’ salaries are much higher in the U.S. than in other wealthy countries. A general practitioner in the U.S. earns almost twice as much as the average physician in other high-income countries. Pharmaceutical spending per capita is also distinctly higher in the United States

Therefore when Nurse Bamidee Virrage Geh decided to call it quits despite one, having a good job in Abeokuta, secondly, she was an Assistant Chief Nursing officer in a renowned psychiatric hospital.

She said she wasn’t rich, neither was she poor and therefore could afford the basic things of life.

But her friends living outside the country kept calling her relentlessly to ask what she was still doing in Nigeria.

“Most times I turned the conversation into jokes and they were always left wondering what kind of person I am.

But it got to a time I sat down and had a talk with myself and right there I decided I was ready to move.

See; when it’s time for something good to happen in your life, it will be as if you’re doing magic as things will just begin to align together on its own for you”, she writes in her travelogue. .

She continued that her journey to the US was stress free maybe because as a professional, she simply had to follow the laid down processes.

The first thing she did after taking an additional degree in psychology from the University of Ibadan, South West Nigeria was to do the required examinations and that was it.



At a time I was asking myself if it was real especially during the heat of the covid 19.

Bamidee Virragegeh was completely disarmed with the flow of care coming from her would be employers in the US. She says, “There were several days that I’ll wake up to voice notes, mails, messages from my present employer and the content was always, “Hi, Bamidee, this is………….., just checking up on you to ask if you’re okay. Pls stay safe and if you need anything, pls let us know”.

And she’d swoon.

“Are you kidding me? I’m still in Nigeria anyway, I’ve not even started work with these people and they are so concerned about my welfare.

Whereas my own government didn’t give a damn if I was okay or not during that period.

In fact the 3months COVID-19 allowance they promised to pay was paid after a strike action we embarked upon.

They cared not about health care workers and the rest of the citizenry.”

Finally, she left. The young man sitting with her on the flight, was himself, a medical doctor, leaving the country of his birth to live and work in the US, and Bamidee wondered how many more of them were headed to the US in that flight alone, amidst many more flights everyday , abandoning the Nigerian healthcare system behind.


“In the time that I’ve gotten here, the difference between Nigeria and the US can’t be quantified.

For as many that have it in their heart to leave Nigeria, feel free!

I’ll only advise that you do it in the right way. Follow the due process of living and working in the country of your choice either as a professional or as an artisan.

There’s nothing as good as being able to get a good job, move freely within that country and even go in and out of that country without fear.




Credits:

Bamidee
Matej Mikulic

Greg Abolo

Blogger at The Oasis Reporters.

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