Sorry for being away this long. That wasn’t the original plan. I got too busy so suddenly with work. It is same work business that has brought me back to you, plus I couldn’t just let the year go by without celebrating the Christmas holidays with you. This post is not intended to castigate or lay blame on the health workers, but to remind Nigerians of how insensitive and one sided their judgment can be. I am a medical doctor, and I am not ashamed of that fact neither do I regret it.
For at least 5 weeks now, the joint health sector union (JOHESU) has been on a strike and now embarked on a nationwide strike action. The details I heard, has something to do with salary increment, precisely the hazard allowance (since that of doctors have been increased) despite being granted their consultancy wish. Let me refresh your memory once again to the reason that the Nigerian Medical Association went on strike about six months ago with this post. The doctors hadn’t been on strike for up to a week when I started hearing comments of how wicked doctors are for abandoning the healthcare system and allowing patients die. How greedy we are for going on strike because of such a thing as relativity and increment in hazard allowance and fighting over such a trivial matter as to who should be the chief medical director of the teaching hospitals.
I work in the private sector and even though everyone can’t be 100%, I am happy with a majority of the people I work with including the attendants (orderlies). I have also been in the system long enough to see certain things that the layman would never understand. So when the general public decides to argue or quarrel over health care issues, they must gather the correct facts first. Noe, fellow Nigerians, why are you not yelling for JOHESU to come back to work? By your silent action, are you indirectly calling them incompetent and easily dispensable? (Because I know that they aren’t). Are your relatives no longer dying from lack of healthcare? Because I know the federal hospitals are barely functioning. The emergency rooms are closed down for now. Does it mean you are totally ignorant of this situation, your relatives are not falling ill or you have decided to turn the other way.
Many times during the NMA strike, doctors were reminded of the hippocratic oath they'd sworn to and how they weren't living up to their words. Now I ask you, did the pharmacists or nurses not swear to an oath? Why haven't I heard songs about those yet?
Finally, consider the singular fact that JOHESU, (meaning everybody that works in the hospital except doctors) are on strike and the nation is carrying on like it’s a normal day at the park, but the doctors went on strike and became devils for fighting for what they deserved. What does that tell you about who should be at the top of the food chain in the health sector? (Not bragging, just saying). Naija, before you start lending your voices to any argument that may lead you to choosing sides, please think deeply, if possible, write down your argument and do it objectively, not emotionally. Do not be easily influenced by someone else’s well thought out plan (most of the time, not to your benefit). It is the same reason most of us are undecided who to vote in the next elections.