News / Africa

Nigeria Doctors’ Strike Threatens HIV/AIDS Care

Heather Murdock

Nearly a month into a nationwide doctor's strike, HIV/AIDS patients in some parts of northern Nigeria say health care is rapidly declining, and they have become largely dependent upon foreign aid organizations.  Doctors say the strike is the only way they know to rescue Nigeria’s flailing healthcare system, but nurses accuse strikers of abandoning public care in favor of more lucrative private practices. 
 
The Nigerian Medical Association said about 30,000 members have been on strike since the beginning of July, breaking the strike only to provide emergency care for victims of frequent insurgent attacks.
 
But HIV patients say they need life-saving care just as much as victims of terrorism.  
 
Benjamin Daniel leads a network of people living with HIV or AIDS in the northern city of Kaduna.  He said some HIV/AIDS patients have already been turned away from emergency care and as the strike drags on, more people are getting sick.
 
“This doctors’ strike actually affected lives of people living with HIV and AIDS in Kaduna State and if the government doesn’t do anything about it, definitely, I’m telling you, we don’t know the fate of our people,” said Daniel.

In Kaduna Wednesday, doctors broke their strike to treat injured victims of a double bombing that killed 44 people.  When those patients were stable, they left.
 
Nigeria’s official HIV infection rate is more than four percent and some doctors say that rate is grossly underestimated.
 
But HIV/AIDS drugs are still available, said the executive secretary of Kaduna State AIDS Control Agency, Halliru Musa Abubakar, because they don’t need doctors to distribute medicine.
 
“We are trying as much as possible to see that the strike doesn’t effect negatively the patient access to the drugs.  So, so far we have not had any problem in the state,” he noted.

While strikes are common tools for negotiation in Nigeria, this is the first time the Nigerian Medical Association has called a nationwide strike, union officials say.  The strike will continue, they add, until the government provides more resources to hospitals.
 
Union members say without these resources the Nigerian hospital system will collapse in a matter of years.
 
The National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives has called the strike “selfish,” saying doctors are trying divert patients into their own expensive private clinics.
 
Andy Bako is a local coordinator of the Association of Vulnerable Children in Nigeria.  He blames the government for the strike, saying its refusal to negotiate with doctors puts everyone at risk.
 
“For children that fall sick from time to time certainly they don’t access treatment.  Because they go to the conventional hospitals to receive treatment.  There’s no doctors.  It’s really affecting them,” said Bako.

Bako said HIV/AIDS patients still have a modicum of care because foreign aid organizations are still operating.  However, he said, dependency on groups that could potentially leave Nigeria because of the growing Boko Haram insurgency is as dangerous as it is frightening.

Ibrahima Yakubu contributed to this report from Kaduna.

You May Like

Missouri Town Braces for Possible Racial Unrest

Situation in Ferguson hinges on whether white police officer will be indicted for August shooting death of unarmed black teen; decision could come Monday More

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of 1930s Deadly Famine

President Poroshenko compares Soviet-era ‘genocide’ to current tactics of pro-Russia rebels in Ukraine's east More

S. Philippines Convictions Elusive 5 Years After Election-related Killings

Officials vowed to deliver justice as the nation marked the anniversary of the country's worst political massacre that left 58 dead, more than half media More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Nats Odaudu from: Abuja
August 01, 2014 11:43 AM
Doctor’s strike: Nigerians give cautious endorsement to privatization of public health institutions http://ht.ly/zQ0ik


by: Stephen from: Okeho
July 25, 2014 11:46 PM
Government should pls. act quickly in order to avert daily loss of inoccent lifes, because where ever two elephants fights the grass will suffern

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
New Skateboard Defies Gravityi
X
November 21, 2014 5:07 AM
A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid