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Doctors’ strike: Matters arising

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Why must civil servants always use strike action to press home their demand? Just look at what this warning strike embarked upon by medical doctors in some states has caused? Some patients have died due to lack of medical care,” began Jeff. “Physicians are not supposed to embark on strike no matter what happens. Their primary duty is to save lives, money or no money!” he declared.

“But government should address their grievances. They are complaining about salaries and allowances and the state of the hospitals,” stated Yinka.

Minister for Health, Professor Christian Onyebuchi Chukwu

Said Tosin: “From what I heard, salaries of their counterparts in Federal Government-owned hospitals were increased and they are asking for salary increment too but the concerned state governments are saying they cannot afford to pay them as much as the Federal Government.”

“Which is understandable,” interjected Abe. “So how much are they willing to pay? he asked.
“The government asked them to call off the strike and come for a roundtable conference to reach a compromise but the doctors refused, saying it is either they are paid same as their federal counterparts or nothing.”

“Is that government’s version? Because I heard a different version,” stated David. “I heard the doctors are aggrieved because government has not been paying them their salaries in full and then the earlier agreed increment has not been implemented. So tell me, why they would waste their time to go and sit and negotiate again when the result of previous negotiations have not been implemented?”

“Half salary? Are they not making enough money? Like working for 30 days and getting paid for 15? That is not fair at all, ” stated Rita.

“Let’s face it, the truth remains that on no account should doctors go on strike. They are life savers and not killers. anyway, it all boils down to the fact that many of them are not called into that noble profession; they are there for the money and will take any action to get money at the drop of a hat. I believe that if one is truly called, the major motivation would be to save lives, money or no money,” noted Jeff, to which Etim replied: “Did I hear you say money or no money?. If na you, you go work for nothing? I think the grouse of the doctors is this ‘monkey dey work, baboon dey chop attitude of government. They are there slaving away in ill-equipped hospitals while some no-good, half-baked politicians, who contribute nothing to the development of the nation are there feeding fat on our treasury. It’s annoying. Why won’t they cut down the salaries of members of both the executive and legislative arms of government to be able to meet the legitimate demands of the doctors and other workers?”

“Agreed they have their legitimate grouse but when two elephants fight, the grass suffers. People are dying and some are in great pains waiting for doctors to alleviate the pains. They must not forget the Hippocratic Oath,” admonished Yinka. He continued: “In other climes, medical doctors (MDs) are given preferential treatment in the banks, shopping malls, eateries, highways, etc because duty can call at anytime, so I think government should, as a matter of urgency, look into this matter. The doctors said they have been taken for a ride for too long and in Nigeria, the saying that the patient dog eats the fattest bone does not hold true. What obtains here is that the patient dog gets no bone at all and may even be deleted from the surface of the earth while waiting. You must go out there and get what you want.”

Said Yinka: “ The doctors said the strike action was not targeted against the patient but against the government for insensitivity to the plight of medical doctors. That is laughable because it is the patient who bears the brunt.

 The average government official does not patronise our hospitals. A few weeks ago, the  Minister of State for Health was quoted as saying that wealthy people will always prefer medical treatment overseas because they have the wherewithal to treat themselves. Government should come alive to their responsibilities, equip our hospitals, research institutes, and take care of the professionals so that strike would never be contemplated.”

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