Friday, 29 August 2014


It's been almost a week since the medical doctors in Nigeria called off the almost 2-month old strike. I received the news with a bit of shock, sadness and maybe a little bit of confusion. The public have had their laugh, calling doctors the fool. Some have asked, "why did they call it off after so long and after the death of so many innocent citizens?" Others asked, "what have they gained if not for money, after lying that what they wanted was better facilities to treat patients?" They have said "all the doctors ever wanted by going on this strike was more money". Seriously, after taking these events into consideration, I really do not blame them.

The day after the strike was called off, trust my ever-arguing siblings to engage me in an exhilarating argument about the point of the whole strike. Saying my brother (the dentist) was pissed is an understatement. The argument went on for hours, there was even name calling at one point (good naturedly, of course) and then we got worn out. As usual, my younger sister had only a few words to interject before escaping to the sanity of her room, while we continued. We came to the end of the argument when my mum came out to disperse us, saying we were shouting and it was already late. I'm sure she didn't want the neighbors thinking that we were fighting. Lol.

The next day at the hospital, more stories began to emerge. It was then we found out that the strike action was probably ill-advised to begin with, and calling it off so suddenly after the residency training program had been suspended by the federal government, didn't make much sense either. It was at this time many of the residents realized that while they had been on a nation wide strike as NMA (comprising of both the consultants -MDCAN and the residents-NARD), the consultants have been working. Apparently, the consultants took johesu to court over who should be consultant and who should run the hospital and certain other issues. It was also said the court ruled in favor of the doctors, so the consultants couldn't as well continue with the strike. It became clear to me suddenly why the federal government would make a decision to sack a fraction of a group of people, assuming all were on strike.

Two valid points I'd like to state, one enumerated by my elder brother, the second by my fellow doctors. My brother asked why the necessary equipment needed for the improvement of the hospital and patient's health weren't itemized in our 24-list agenda. For example, we should have stated what exactly we needed, like CT Scan, MRIs, Defibrillators e.t.c. How many and where exactly we wanted them situated. I recently lost my father-in-law, not because the doctors were on strike but because we have been incapacitated by lack of proper facilities in the hospitals. He was in need of a defibrillator and he couldn't get to one because somehow, I think I can actually count the number of defibrillators we have in the country right now.

The second point which I still can't totally understand is this, why call of a strike when you have already been sacked and the people who sacked you haven't re-employed you? Now the strike has been called of but residents can't work because resuming in the hospital means collecting your dismiss letters, since the federal government didn't yet withdraw their own statement of suspending the residents. In this post is my reaction when I heard about the suspension of the residency program.

In conclusion, I have decided that the NMA is not unanimous in their decision making, placing and tossing its members around. Making us appear the fool at the end of the day. I still maintain that we trace our steps back and seek unity because that is the only way we can stand against any adversary. We need to make our points clear, let the public know when you are fighting for them, rather than allow them get wrong information from everyone else. By these actions, we have proved that we can be intimidated and have been made the footstool for anyone and everyone to step. This is not a matter of fight another day. Finally, I must say this, I've said it before and I'll continue to say it, "being doctors doesn't make us superheroes or invisible". We are still humans, capable of emotions and wanting to provide for ourselves and our families. It is the singular reason anyone gets up in the morning to work. This, we must fight for.


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