By Chioma Obinna
LAGOS—THE Nigerian Medical Association, NMA, and the Medical Guild in Lagos State, yesterday, alleged undue harassment of medical doctors and other health workers in Lagos even as they decried what they described as ‘uncomplimentary’ statement credited to the State Commissioner of Police, CP, Mr. Hakeem Odumosu on the movements of health workers following restriction order to prevent the spread of coronavirus in the country.
In separate statements issued by the state NMA and Medical Guild, they expressed worry at the unsavoury comments by the Lagos CP that Identification Cards were not enough to allow movement of healthcare workers to health facilities in Lagos during the lockdown.
The Medical Guild, in a statement by its Chairman, Dr. Olujimi Sodipo, said: “We strongly urge the CP to retract his directive which will lead to loss of lives of members of the public unnecessarily. We also use this medium to appreciate all our members who have taken up the task of catering for COVID-19 and other patients in all our hospitals. With God’s will, Lagos and Nigeria will soon be declared free of the pandemic.”
Similarly, Lagos NMA in a statement by its Chairman and Secretary, Saliu Oseni and Ramon Moronkola, respectively, directed its members in several states to suspend their legitimate demands for unpaid salaries and other emoluments in order to focus solely on the fight against COVID 19.
Stating that medical doctors were on the frontline deploying their knowledge and skills, at great risk to their lives, against the pandemic they said the NMA was pained by the call by the Commissioner of Police for doctors and other health workers to carry evidence of being on duty.
The statement reads: “Is the CP suggesting that health workers engage in illegal duty or wander about aimlessly? Perhaps, the CP underestimates the enormity of the work at hand.
“Several countries have already called thousands of health workers out of retirement. In peacetime, the health system in the country suffered from shortages of health care workers, it, therefore, stands to reason that the ongoing war against COVID 19 demands the mobilization of all hands and not curious statements, such as the one credited to the CP, which are capable of creating unnecessary bottlenecks for our members and other healthcare workers.
“Already, we have received a few unsavoury reports from our members pertaining to the enforcement of restriction on movements leading to their harassment.
“Medical doctors are not unmindful of the great responsibility that the profession places on them at difficult times like these, especially considering the need to continue to keep the hospitals open and attend to other life-threatening conditions outside COVID-19.”