Saturday, 26 July 2014


Hey everyone, 

I'm pretty sure that if you are in Nigeria, then you know that medical doctors have been on strike for almost 4weeks now. Many people have had lots of stuff to say about it. Some have gone from calling the doctors insensitive to selfish to just plain wicked. Let me say at this point that I'm not even remotely enjoying the strike because I work for a private enterprise.  (If you go on strike, you may as well lose your job.) Just to be very clear about the demands of my fellow colleagues so I don't come out stating non facts, I decided check it out. It was easy for me to get a hold of the letter since my younger brother is privy to such information. He's somehow very involved with the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA).

What really prompted me into writing about this topic, is the raging argument I had with my siblings last Sunday and the gist I heard that johesu sued the doctors on the grounds that the strike they embarked on is illegal. I have introduced my family to you before,  here and here. Arguing is our normal way of life, It might just be us showing off (Naija go say na shining) in our respective areas of expertise. This time it was even better! My younger sister (from my relationship posts) and our parents were involved. Sweet..... My older brother who is in Lagos even phoned in, just to be part of the argument. Lol. He's just an "amebo".

For this particular argument, we focused on just a few sections of the demands by the doctors. The priority on our list was
  1. Who should be the head of the hospital? 
  2. Should every other member of the health care team be allowed to become a consultant?
  3. Should doctors have their own customized license plate numbers?
  4. How much should be paid for call duties?
Been a doctor, of course you can be very sure that I'm already biased. The general gist is that JOHESU which means Joint Health Sector Unions, comprises of every other health care worker in the hospital except the doctors, (they include the nurses, lab technicians, pharmacists, porters, admin staff e.t.c.) want to become consultants in their various fields and also be given the same opportunity to head the hospitals i.e. become the chief medical director (CMD). Before I go any further, let me just share with you a bit of the opinion of a doctor that particularly struck me.
  • MY CRIME!!! I studied hard while others were playing in the ground.... I studied hard without holidays while others were enjoying their college days.... I studied the toughest education syllabus in the world for 6 years and became a doctor! I work more than 9 hours/day to serve the diseased. I go for days just to help the needy even on Sunday, Christmas, Easter, EID, summer and winter non stop..... I am the one you wish your children to become as professionals or marry.... I only demand a better system for my profession, and I'm straight away called a criminal, a killer and a murderer...... I am being harassed and violated by media.... YES,  I am the most civilized criminal who only demands a system in this unlawful state. Yes! I am a doctor.

About whether other members should be allowed to become consultants, I ask this question; "Who is a consultant?" And I answer, a consultant is someone who has attained the highest point of his/her specialized field. The other health care members want to be called consultant Nurse, consultant pharmacist? Really! It doesn't work that way. There is no consultant doctor, we have consultants that are either surgeons, physicians, paediatricians,  gynaecologists, e.t.c. they are even further specialized to become consultant neurologist, consultant urologist e.t.c. These people didn't become consultants by practicing forever and gaining all the experience (the older medical officers will tell you.) They studied hard while working, wrote and passed series of exams to commence and exit the residency training programme. Every course studied in the university has its own professional peak. Take the lawyers for example, they peak either as a Judge, a Professor or a Senior Advocate (SAN in Nigeria). The accountants become Chartered accontants after writing many exams, one of them been the ICAN. Even the nurses have their own, I believe they are called matrons. So please tell me, where does a hospital accountant in the admin department get off saying he/she now wants the post of consultant accountant? If that isn't a shortcut, I don't  know what is. Nobody is stopping anyone from being who they want to be or achieving their goals. Dear nurse, you want to be a consultant, aim high, go through B.Sc Nursing, then masters then PhD. Same goes every other health worker. The doctor spends 6 years in school with little (2 weeks) or no breaks, not 12 semesters of 3 months each ( which amounts to a total of 3 years). We read huge textbooks not handouts and are expected to know almost everything in each of those books by the time we graduate. Lastly, they say this is the practice in foreign countries. I say the foreign people are sane, Nigerians are not. In Nigerian, CHU - Community health workers run hospital, maternity centres are owned and run by inexperienced nurses, pharmacists and patent medicine store owners  consult and prescribe drugs for people (I have seen this many times), some of these chemist stores have abortion clinics in their back room. To make matters worse, the doctors see the patient after all the damage has been done and they expect a miracle! And the masses are ignorant!!! Even in my hospital, I prescribe a drug, the nurse changes it without finding out my reasons! In UCH Ibadan, some years ago, nurses were allowed to task a course then become consultants. It was scrapped become a nurse informed a nurse told a Surgeon that he couldn't check out the wound of a patient he operated on the day before because her consultant nurse has dressed it. Abeg tell me who do the operation? Imagine therefore, the chaos this demand of "consultant everything" will be if granted. Don't get me wrong please, everyone can do well in their fields and healthcare is about teamwork,  a matron thought me how to site my first IV line, now I'm good at it. The problem is where do you draw the line?

Now to the matter of who should be the head of the hospital. Hmmmm I'm already tired! My dentist brother thinks it should be anyone with good leadership skills. The lawyer thinks it should be a lawyer (so typical), my older brother says a trained consultant in any field. My mum and sister are at a loss, they decide it's time to start getting ready for church. My father says "the post is for the chief medical director not chief health director, so definitely  a medical doctor". I ask at this point, "who is the head in the church?, the priest/pastor, reverend sister, deacon, elder, choir, church warden or security?" Everyone becomes silent for a while as they contemplate this. The medical doctor is so vastly read, they understand the needs of every sector of a health facility. No bragging, it is part of the  training. I have had cause to work in health establishments not owned by doctors (not once or twice), and I can honestly tell you they cramp our style. They never understand they doctors' needs. All they know is hurry, hurry and hurry. Don't do this, do that; prescibe analternate drug that the hospital has. They face the management and neglect the doctor and his patient, forgetting that it is because these two groups that the hospital runs.  They say the medical doctor didn't study management, I'm going to correct that notion right here and right now. The post of the CMD is reserved for consultants and before you become a consultant, it is a requirement that you do a management course. Let's not be deceived, there's obviously a reason why it's been a doctor all this while.

On to the next one, customized plate numbers? Really? Why? Is the security wahala in the country not enough? With doctors being kidnapped regularly, the best solution to protect us, is now by making us sitting ducks? By us being easy targets to any tom, dick and harry? Abeg oga NMA President, I no want! I don't earn enough to pay for ransom. The occupational hazard I face in the hospital everyday is enough for me. Thank you. For this one, my entire family had a unanimous front, NO!!

Final discussion, how much should I be paid as hazard allowance and who should earn the most hazard allowance. Some said nurses, others said orderlies, I still maintain my stand. Yes, the doctors. They face the most danger, however, I believe it would be better if this particular allowance was distributed according to exposure. Because, why should one doctor who faces several risks in a day earn same as one sitting on a desk with little risk? I think it shouldn't be same across board. The Nigerians I know, don't think this way though. 

In the midst of all this stress, here's something that might just make you smile;
  • Just saw this by the road side. Press release: JOHESU VS. DOCTORS. We, the association of Nigerian hopital patients (NHP) having extensively deliberated on the on-going brouhaha between johesu and the medical doctors, came out with the following resolution which we believe is a perfect solution to end the crisis. For these groups of wannabe/drop-out medical students, who veered into the allied/para-medicak professions and want to short circuit back to assume the roles, positions and the entitlements of our doctors who are our primary caregivers, this culture of impunity must be extended to other sectors as follows; 
  • All cabin crew should be allowed to fly aircrafts in Nigeria.
  • Henceforth, gatemen are eligible to be appointed as chief of defence staff.
  • That the midwives should be allowed to perform caesarian surgery in any relative of the federal executive council that might require it.
  • That henceforth, the super eagles physiotherapist should be referred to as the chief coach and be entitled to all allowances of the real chief coach.
  • That the pharmacist technician should be eligible to be appointed chief pharmacist.
  • That the orderlies who have spent at least one year (equivalent of post basic nursing training), in a specialized ward be reffered to as specialist abd be paid specialist allowance. Afterall, the auxillary nurses have being enjoying all the entitlements of the B.Sc nurses since the Gowon's regime.
  • That driving license shall be granted those who have driving experience with toy cars in childhood.
  • That the appointment of the chief judge of the federation and minister of justice shall not be limited to LLB holder, but open to all staff in the ministry of justice. Afterall, all of us don judge case at one point or the other in our lifetime. 
  • To settle the issue of consultants pathologists and laboratory scientists, none of them shall be regarded as pathologists except the mortuary attendants. Yes,, because they spend more time with the dead body. Lol
Be guided my fellow Nigerians, let's do the right thing for once!!!



  1. Informative. Well written. Guess you'll need to itemize the rest if the 24 point agenda of the NMA for completeness sake.

    1. Thank you Dr. Osazuwa for this comment. I'll try to do as you have said but for the purpose of this post, I just wanted to discuss and up all the misconceptions of the public.


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