News Analysis

The On-going Strike by Resident Doctors Amidst a Pandemic

This is not to undermine the current strike by the resident doctors in public hospitals to press home their demands from government, but an effort to look at the moral implication on the medical profession and it impact on the ordinary man on the street.

Doctors are trained to save lives first before any other thing going by the Hippocratic Oath they administer on them upon graduation from medical schools.

However, once there is crisis between the doctors and government, human lives are endangered in the course of this war of nerves forgetting that no amount of monetary value fought for can replace the loss of lives at the end.

Public hospitals remain the only health care providers available to the common man in terms of cost implications for the range of services provided by them.

Therefore, the most unfortunate part of the current face-off between the resident doctors and the federal government is that the common man who is the highest beneficiary of the services provided by the doctors in the public hospital is the worst hit.

While the strike last, hospital ward are evacuated of patients, while the affluent can afford to be taken to private hospitals, the common man is cash- strapped and left to die in most cases.

Some of them often resort to quack doctors and other obnoxious alternatives which are death prone.

Facilities at the abandoned hospitals are affected too in one way or the other in terms of deterioration and level of hygiene by the time the doctors are back to work after the strike.

Although, there is remarkable improvement in the traditional health care delivery, there is still a wide gap between the orthodox medicine, and alternative medicine, specifically health conditions that require emergency and prompt management.

Strike as a tool for labour agitation should not be abused, especially by medical doctors who are trained to save lives and give succor to the patients.

How can they feel so unconcerned and unmoved that people are dying every second on each day they stay away from work?

While the threat by the federal government to have the striking doctors replaced because they appear to have lost the feeling of the doctors is counter-productive, there is the need to examine options to manage this type of crisis in the future.

Government at all levels should endeavour to have a pool of volunteer doctors attached to public hospital to manage health crisis occasioned by strike till matters are resolved to avoid unnecessary loss of lives.

The current doctors’ strike across the country is the most insensitive coming at a period of a major pandemic like COVID-19 that has put many lives at risk and it is even more disturbing that the federal government has been unable to resolve the crisis amicably.   .

We cannot have international best practices in the health sector when the major stakeholders embark on strike every now and then.

All contentious issues raised by the striking doctors must be looked at holistically to resolve the impasse as the egoistic posture on both sides of the divide can only make the health sector crisis a recurring decimal.

Tayo Sanni

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