Doctors Strike! And the patients suffer


The other day, I happened to visit a government-owned Health facility in the course of my regular schedule work, and I passed by the Theatre and saw a group of people gathered around wailing and mourning. I noticed a particular lady, lying on the floor and weeping intensely,
making reference to someone she knew.

In my quest to know what the reason for the mourning was, I found that an accident had occured somewhere on the outskirts of town and several people were involved. This lady's sister was in that vehicle and had passed on.

Interestingly, the accident victims who had survived the incident at the site were rushed to the hospital, hoping they would get emergency medical attention. But unfortunately, since the doctors were on strike, they were not attended to as they should and they didn't make it.

The Nigerian Health sector is one thar has been fraught with strikes both local as well as National over the past eight months. Today it’s the doctors, tomorrow the nurses, next week the residents, other week... I don’t know. Read in one of the Dailies that patients now crowd private hospitals where they are charged exorbitant fees; others who can’t afford the high fees run to pharmacists and even visit nurses in their homes just to get Medical attention.

I've read a lot online and in the papers about the opinion of the Doctors on the strike and that of the other Health Practitioners (JOHESU) and it’s really sad because this whole strike is majorly a fight for supremacy in the health sector. Nothing very farfetched from the supremacy fight observed between the doctors and the paramedics right from medical school. It’s like the proverbial fight between two elephants where the grass suffers-the grass in this case being the patients.

It’s sad enough that patients are dying daily as a result of this strike action, but it’s even more cruel to know that the doctors are profiting from this by directing patients to their private facilities! I’m not in support of JOHESU either (what with some of their own unrealistic demands), but I just feel that health practitioners should be more concerned about caring for the lives of their patients rather than focusing on politicking, infighting and money!

I call on all well-meaning health practitioners – doctors, nurses, pharmacists, medical lab scientists, radiologists, everyone in the sector to shelve their differences and quest for superiority and get back to work!

#GetBackToWork #PatientHealthFirst

Written by Precious Nwanganga © 2014
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