Sunday, 29 April 2012


" THE Lagos State Government has begun the process of recruiting new doctors to replace medics who embarked on an indefinite strike action. The government also threatened to mete out appropriate punishment foe those involved in the action. Chairman, Medical Advisory Committee (MAC) to the State Governor, Dr. Ore Falomo, made this known in Lagos during a press conference at the weekend. The doctors, who resumed the action on Wednesday in continuation of  the already suspended eight-month strike, were asked by the government and committee to return to duty or risk stiff penalties. Also, some civil society organisations in the country and the Association of Health Writers joined the call for an end to the standoff, even as the pregnant women, who have been denied full antenatal care urged the state government to look into the doctors’ grouse, and get them to resume duties to save the lives of Nigerians that are being lost on regular basis. According to Falomo, the MAC was of the view that medical doctors should be guided by the ‘Hippocratic Oath,’ and, as such, exhaust all possible avenues for negotiation and lobbying before thinking of strike option.
He noted that doctors in any medical team should see themselves as leaders, who are ready to hold their positions in high esteem and carry other components of the team along. “The best option is for normalcy to return to the sector because the innocent and the poor are bearing the greatest brunt and suffering quietly. The private doctors are attending to over 60 per cent of patients and the remaining percentage is being handled by the public hospitals. So, the striking doctors should know this,” Falomo said. He continued: “What we are doing is the same thing we would do if they’re in the United Kingdom (UK) or the United States of America (USA). There is nowhere in the world, where doctors are satisfied with their condition of service. But we have to do our work and negotiate. It should be noted that only 20 percent of populace are sick at a time and these are the people we are working to save, not the whole population.”
The Chairman noted that in a situation such as being witnessed with the industrial action, it is the poor and innocent masses, who cannot afford cost of medical care that would  suffer the most. “Those days I fought against (former President, Olusegun) Obasanjo and other regimes, but did not hurt the weak. You don’t hurt the weak, rather you help them. We had poor duty allowance, but we did not go on strike. It is a strike too many. Our duty in MAC is to counsel and manage the hurt and not to inflict hurt or pain.” He informed that, “doctors are being recruited to do the job of those that neglected their duty due to the strike and they will be dealt with accordingly. We have recommended that NYSC doctors should be assigned to emergency services to perform that function. Civil service rules and regulations would be enforced to serve as deterrent to future occurrence of strike.” MAC also recommended that the Head of Service and Justice Department of the state should embark on appropriate actions to against erring doctors, which include, compensating and paying of salaries of the doctors who are active on duty for extra work done, while salary of those on strike should be withheld and subjected to appropriate considerations"
What do you think about the strike action? Do you believe, irrespective of job and loss to life, people have the right to protest against their conditions of employment? or do you side with the government and their bigger picture of preventing unnecessary loss of life in the face of what they seem to view as an illegal and unjustifiable action by the striking doctors?

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