According to WHO, Sierra Leone has three doctors to one hundred thousand patients but everyday doctors leave the country to seek greener pastures else where, who should blame them?
For example, I have just heard that, a very diligent colleague has left for the United State, he said" he would prefer to work as a toilet cleaner in the United States than as a doctor in Sierra Leone. Because he will earn more as a cleaner in the United States than a doctor in Sierra Leone.
Another doctor said "he is going to join the main political party in his region of origin, start doing humanitarian work with his meager doctor's salary now and stand as MP in 2023.
Most doctors suggested that, as a doctor the only way you will not become depressed is if you go into private practice. But if all of us go into private practice, who will take care of the poor patients?
Doctors are not being treated fairly. They spend their days and nights taking care of patients but when they get sick there is no one to take care of them. Doctors do not have medical insurance. Even though they are always exposed to infectious diseases like PTB, HIV , hepatitis , etc. they do not have any risk allowance.
Some people may reason that health workers are humanitarians and they should value lives more than wealth. of course we value life that is why even though we may know that a patient is HIV positive, we will still go with the patient to the theatre if he or she needs surgery.
A colleague is presently taking post exposure prophylaxis(PEP) treatment for HIV, because she prick herself while doing lumbar puncture on a HIV positive patient. Trust me the adverse effects of the pep treatment is indescribable ranging from non stop diarrhoea, to chest tightness, to dizziness. Guess what? She still goes to work even though she is depressed.
If a patient needs blood or medications but cannot afford we normally step in with our meager salaries and assist the patient because to us there is nothing more rewarding than a thank you from a patient.
But just because you are a doctor, does that mean you should be living a miserable life? Just because you are doctor does not mean that you should not be able to take care of your aging parents? Or send your children to good school.?
As a doctor with the present salary scheme, you will never be able to buy a car. A colleague grumbled, he wanted to take his family out for pizza ride but after deducting all his monthly expenditure, he was only left with le 66,000. Another colleague said his lunch as a student was much better than his salary as a doctor.
The worst part of being a doctor is the high expectations of people especially relatives. I have family members who thinks I have a lot of money I just don't want to help them. I know a colleague who is afraid that if her landlord discovers that she is a doctor, he might increase her rent.
I always feel really embarrassed when I am in a poda poda and a patient or a nurse or a friend calls me doctor. I don't introduce myself as a Dr. Health workers matter, doctors deserve better. Poor conditions of service is the real course for brain drain in Sierra Leone. If the MP are asking for one million six hundred thousand, how much should health workers ask for, for doing 24 hour, sometimes 48 hours, or even 72 hours on call?
If the MPs, whose main responsibilities revolve around talking in the well of parliament, asking for 5,000$ for health insurance, how much should doctors who are exposed to blood, vomit, urine etc. ask for? #Healthworkersmatter. #Doctorsdervebetter.
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