Claim: The minister of Labour and employment, Chris Ngige, claims resident doctors pay to enter residency in the US and UK.
Following the commencement of a nationwide strike by Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors on April 1, 2021, the screenshot of a Twitter post shared by Channels Television on April 2, 2021, went viral.
In this Twitter post, the Minister of Labour and empowerment, Chris Ngige, was quoted as saying resident doctors pay to enter residency programs in the United States and in the United Kingdom.
The post which had a video attached, said the claim was made by the minister in his appearance on Channels programme, Politics Today.
“Resident doctors pay to enter the residency program in the US and UK. But in Nigeria, we pay them. – Chris Ngige, Minister of Labour and Employment.”
Excerpt of Ngige’s comment from the video clip shared on Twitter.
The Twitter post as of Monday, April 5, 2021, had generated 539 comments, 933 retweets, and 586 likes.
Dubawa listened to the 39 seconds video shared by Channels Television and confirmed that the minister made this claim. The video as of Monday, April 5, 2021, had generated over 43,000 views.
“The people who are talking about those going for greener pastures, how many medical Doctors in residency training in America ask the Government to pay them residency training fund? In the United States, you pay to enter the residency program, in the UK the same, you are paying. Here we pay them in training salaries and allowances and also give them money for examination for books, for transport to exams”
Excerpt of Ngigi’s comment on Channels Tv.
Dubawa also conducted a Keyword search on residency in the US and the UK and how it works. An article by American Medical Association (AMA) explains this process does not involve such financial obligation from government.
Another article by International Medical Graduates (iMGPREP) highlights 10 steps to medical residency in the US. None of these steps speaks of any financial payment.
Also in the UK, an article by the General Medical Council (GMC) does not point to any financial obligation on the part of those applying for a residency programme in the UK.
The Medical and Dental Consultants’ Association of Nigeria ( MDCAN), noting its support for the strike on Twitter, countered the claim by the minister.
“Setting the records straight, Resident Doctors in the US and UK DO NOT pay to enter Residency Program. In the UK and US, Resident Doctors train while they work. This is the practice in Nigeria. Hon. Minister @LabourMinNG @SenChrisNgige Sir, your assertion is NOT TRUE.”
Excerpt of NDCAN Twitter post.
Nigeria Medical Association(NMA) also countered this claim by Mr Ngige in a Twitter post on April 3, 2021. This post had a link to a statement by the association, noting that resident doctors are paid all over the world.
According to the NMA, Mr Ngige’s comment is capable of bringing down the health system in Nigeria, thereby worsening the health care delivery and further escalating the rather unimaginable current brain drain.
Screenshot of NMA’s statement on its website.
“In the United Kingdom, the employer of Resident Doctors is the NHS, which is similar to what is obtainable in Nigeria. Furthermore, Residents also pay to take their postgraduate Medical examinations in the developed countries, which is what also obtains in Nigeria.”
Excerpt of NMA’s statement
Are resident doctors paid in the UK and US?
Dubawa also conducted a keyword search on the salary of resident doctors in the US and UK.
According to Talent.com, resident medical officers in the UK are paid an average of £58,588 per year or £30.05 per hour.
It noted that entry level positions start at £42,500 per year while most experienced workers make up to £70,000 per year.
According to payscale.com, in the US resident doctors earn between $50,565 to $54,200. Payscale explained that career Resident Medical Officers with 1 to 4 years of experience earn an average total compensation of $54,200 which includes tips, bonus, and overtime pay while mid-career Resident Medical Officers with 5 to 9 years of experience earn an average total compensation of $50,565.
Dubawa also made efforts to reach resident doctors in the US and UK but was unable to get contacts as at the time of publishing.
Dubawa’s research details on AMA and NHS show resident doctors do not pay to enter residency programs in the US and UK. Also, our findings show resident doctors are paid, contrary to the minister’s assertion. This makes the claim by Mr Ngige false and misleading.
The claim that the Nigerian government pays resident doctors for their examination and books was also debunked by NMA who noted resident doctors fund their examination themselves.