*As harrowing times await patients
By Sola Ogundipe & Chioma Obinna
LAGOS — More harrowing times await Lagosians seeking healthcare in any of the Lagos State-owned hospitals as they may be yet to see the worst of the current face-off between the Lagos State government and doctors under their employment.
Pointers to this development emerged yesterday following the decision by the state branch of the Nigeria Medical Association, NMA, to back the one-month-old strike by the Medical Guild in the state.
This move by the NMA, umbrella body of medical practice in the country, once again, dashed hopes of Lagosians who may have expected that the long hours of discussions between members of the state House of Assembly and the doctors last week, would have brought an end to the strike by yesterday.
Unfortunately, the total and indefinite strike which has grounded activities in all the health institutions owned by the state government, received another boost with the state NMA supporting the aggrieved doctors to continue with the strike until the state government shows genuine commitment to resolve the matters at stake.
At a joint press conference by the NMA and Medical Guild to announce their stance on the on-going strike, state Chairman of NMA, Dr. Edamisan Temiye, alleged that the Lagos State government had refused to negotiate with the members of the Medical Guild, an action he said, might not make things easier for both parties.
His words: “Therefore, the position of NMA Lagos is that the present action by the Medical Guild will continue until the government shows genuine commitment to resolve these matters.”
Temiye alleged that the government had also been threatening the doctors in order to force them to call off the strike without addressing these issues or obeying the appeal by the Industrial Court to negotiate meaningfully with the doctors.
The state chairman further appealed to the government to withdraw all threats against the striking doctors in order not to further aggravate an already bad situation.