• Country’s GDP spend on health ranks 109th out of 191
• Only 50% of registered 72,000 doctors work in Nigeria
Nigerian doctors are among the least paid worldwide. Doctors in 45 other African countries are better paid than their Nigerian counterparts.
Nigerian doctors (lowest salary of $320) are better paid than their counterparts only in Sudan ($66), Cameroon ($300), Egypt ($157), Guinea Conakry ($102), Zimbabwe ($83), Uganda ($300), Algeria ($265), Burundi ($100), Ethiopia ($300).
Immediate past president of the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD), Dr. Segun Olaopa, noted that the comparison might not be fairly contextualised in absolute terms, because “a very senior doctor who gets about $1,200 cannot, for instance, (cannot) be compared with another who, perhaps, trained in Nigeria and earns more than $10,000 monthly or whose currency devaluation of equal pay puts him at a cataclysmic disadvantage. For instance, $500 dollars in Nigeria earned by doctors cannot be equivalent in pay to the same amount in a country like Ghana. Even when we look in absolute terms, the Nigerian doctor’s pay is very terrible, irrespective of the calculating index.”
Olaopa explained that, in the outline of public doctors’ salaries, those in central hospitals were paid by the Federal Government. “Any doctor in this category can have a salary range of N195, 000 and N220, 000. Notably, this salary is exclusive of several reductions in taxes and others. For entry-level doctors, who are in state-owned hospitals, the salaries vary from one state to another. Medical doctors in a few Nigerian states are paid the minimum of N150, 000 on a monthly basis. Meanwhile, the maximum salary an entry-level doctor in a state-owned hospital may receive is N240, 000. This is low when compared to what senior medical consultants and senior doctors are paid as monthly salary. In fact, some of these medical professionals are paid as high as N800, 000 on a monthly basis.”
With the statistics, according to Olopa, “salaries of public doctors are subject to increment and, as a medical doctor working in a government-owned hospital, your salary increases based on your qualifications, specialty, experience, professionalism, and event duration.”
A breakdown of doctors’ salary scale in all 55 African countries published by Nigerian Health Blog on October 27, 2019, noted that “at entry-level, a doctor (house officer) earns an average of N170,000 ($470), an average middle-level medical doctor (junior resident) earns N270,000 ($746) per month. A senior registrar earns up to N400,000 ($1,106) as monthly wages, while a consultant/specialist rakes in N650,000 ($1,800) and above, depending on the level. Some consultants in Nigeria may earn up to N1.2 million monthly ($3,100 monthly). These salaries are at the whims and caprices of the Chief Medical Directors (CMDs), who may decide to slash it as they wish. This is very common, and they go unchecked. Also, junior doctors in the private hospital sector earn between N80, 000, and N130,000 monthly ($221 – $360).”
According to Nigeria’s Consolidated Medical Salary Structure (CONMESS) dated April 2019, the highest-paid medical doctor on CONMESS 7, Level 9 earns N8,517,892 ($22,062.86) per annum.
This means that the highest-paid medical doctor in Nigeria on CONMESS 7, Level 9 earns N709,824.33 ($1,838.57) per month.
Meanwhile, Emigration of Nigerian Medical Doctors Survey Report, published by NOI Polls and Nigeria Health Watch has provided reasons why Nigerian doctors are some of the least paid and most migrated in the world.
According to the report, “It is on record that doctors in America and Europe are paid better than their counterparts in Africa. An outpatient and emergency physician in Ghana earn an annual gross salary of GH¢40,000, equivalent to N2,863,163. The figure in naira equals to approximately N240,000 monthly salary. Similarly, there are also reports of medical doctors in Sierra-Leone who earn up to $2,000 per month, translating to roughly N700,000. In contrast, while doctors under federal government employment in Nigeria can earn a gross monthly salary of between N195,000 and N220,000, their colleagues in state government employees earn between N150,000 and N240,000. However, doctors employed by private hospitals in Nigeria earn as low as N80,000 (GH¢1,118) monthly.”
A breakdown of the findings of the report showed that only 3,000 to 3,500 doctors graduate from medical schools yearly. Nigeria has about 72,000 registered doctors but only 35,000 practise in the country. Nigeria needs 303,333 medical doctors at present, and at least 10,605 new ones yearly, to meet the World Health Organisation’s (WHO’s) recommendation on the doctor-to-patient ratio of 1:600. It was also found that 88 per cent of doctors working in Nigerian hospitals seek work opportunities abroad because of high taxes/deductions from salary as well as low work satisfaction, and poor salary/emoluments.
INVESTIGATION showed that the Nigerian government’s expenditure on health as a proportion of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is relatively low in comparison to other countries’. According to 2012 data analysed by the CIA World Factbook, Nigeria ranks 109th out of 191 countries in terms of the proportion of GDP spent on health with 6.10 per cent.