The medical profession no doubt is one of the noblest of all profession. The dignity of being a medical doctor perhaps is the reason most science-inclined students want to try their best to be admitted in a medical school. The training at the medical school is always second to none. Facilitators ensure that these savers of life are thoroughly prepared to face the herculean tasks ahead. But the question we should be asking is; does the dignity of being a doctor translates into a good financial reward?
In Nigeria, the answer may be no. We have witnessed different kinds of industrial action by the doctors at different point in time, closing down hospitals because of irregularities of pay. This shows us the pay isn’t really worth the stress or they feel they are worth more than they are being paid.
One could say that many factors militate against doctors in Nigeria that make the worth of their services not really appreciated by the society they serve. The main one is the government disposition to the general welfare of workers in the country.
So how much do Nigerian doctors earn?
Obviously, doctors in private hospitals don’t earn the same as those in public hospitals.
In private hospitals, doctors receive as low as N80k. It could be higher depending on the location, case load and experience of the doctors. In order to earn more, most doctors who work for private hospitals shuttle between two or three jobs, doing shifts from one hospital or clinic to another.
In government-owned hospitals, many attempts have been made to regulate the salaries of doctors and the latest is the Consolidated Medical Salary Scale – CONMESS. However, challenges still exist with implementation and there are still disparities in what is paid in federal hospitals when compared to some state-owned hospitals.
Starting salary for federal government doctors is between N195k – N220k, excluding tax and other reductions. Entry level salary for state doctors varies, depending on the state. Some state pay as low as N150k, the highest one can find in states is around N240k.
How much a doctor earns also increases considerably with time, experience and specialty. But those who earn the most are the senior doctors, consultants. Some few of them earn up to N800k per month.
It is worthy of note that the lack of proper funding and good pay package for our doctors has led to a situation where other countries are poaching on us and recruiting our doctors leading to brain drain. The best hospitals in Nigeria cannot be compared with their counterparts in many foreign countries. No wonder wealthy individuals prefer to fly their families abroad for medical attention even at the simplest complains of a headache.