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NIGERIAN MEDICAL WORKERS STRIKE,LET US ALL DIE!!

NIGERIAN MEDICAL WORKERS STRIKE,LET US ALL DIE!! Silence never won rights. They are not handed down from above; they are forced by pressure from below.- Roger Baldwin.

I have tried very hard to restrain myself from writing on this tragic strike embarked on by the
medical and health workers union in Nigeria, but I can no longer hold myself from
writing this short piece, not after what one of the health practitioners ( who prefers to be
called doctors ) said in a gathering of intellectuals, that it is the prerogative of
Nigerian Medical Association(NMA) members to be appointed as commissioners or
ministers of health. Then I knew that he and his colleagues need to have their heads
examined. My assertion was later justified when I learnt that he is a psychiatrist
specialist who haven mingled with mad men for years have lost his sense of reasoning.
Call it pride or being boastful, but I can
humbly say that I have travelled and interacted with men of various professions
including foreign health workers who are renowned surgeons, experts who at their
magical touch, celebral palsy is gone, but I am yet to come across any who is as
pompous as Nigerian graduates of medicine. Let no one say I have been paid for putting
up this reports or that I’m one of the other health practitioners; far from it. As I matter of fact, I am married to a member of this arrogant profession. I have two female cousins who are surgeons and graduates of
Harvard, not these mushroom universities that the so called medical ‘doctors’ in Nigeria
attended, yet go about with shoulders highly lifted. So you see, when I write with this
amount of hurting truth, I’m directly talking to my families. So let it be. I have always been an advocate that theterm ‘doctor’ be reserved for the academics that go the extra mile to obtain the highest educational degree, not a bunch of opportunists who dumped the appellation of
physician for a more worthy title. For all the years that I have read my bible, Christ or any
of the leaders there always addressed health workers as physicians while he refers to the
highly educated ones as ‘doctors of law’. What then is this craze by these general body physicians that they control the health sector? What gave the NMA president, Mr. Osahon
Enabulele the impetus to tell his colleagues to stand by even as the other medical workers
go striking? My visit to a hospital today in Lagos made a mess of ‘General’ Osahon order who feel that they can do the work they are not trained for. Various calls made to my
colleagues in other states to confirm the state of the hospitals where they reside confirm
that the entire hospital has been grounded. I have never had a cause to be treated by
any of the general body physician in my life and will never be, but I have had reasons to
see a medical laboratory scientist; yes, I have lost count of reasons where nurses who do all
the dirty jobs have attended to me. I have seen a family friend died when a physician
who cannot carry out a test asked him to go out of the hospital gate to do a test before
treatment could be carried out, but died on the way, holding the test result. I have visited
a hospital where a physician was truthful enough to tell a stroke patient that they are not trained to handle such cases, telling him bluntly that his hope of walking lie with a doctor of physiotherapy (DPT). I am reliably informed by one of the NMA executive that
the only medical profession that they don’t have the faintest idea of how they work is the
DPT, and yet one still ask, why the discrepancy among them. It is only in Nigeria that a common appointed minister is above the court of law. If it were
not so, who is Mr. Onyebuchi Chukwu to disobey a court order, asking him to effect all the demands of NUMPTAM/JOHESU. Let the truth be told, their demand is just, fair and
worthy. Why must other government workers skip grade level 11 and the minister gives autocratic orders that all other medical workers apart from physicians must not skip
it? What manner of working practice is it that clinical specialist are not paid specialist
allowance, when NMA members enjoy such? What outdated manner of man is the minister
of health to give a directive that Chief Medical
Directors of hospitals should be only from NMA, when DPT, Optometry and pharmacists
are leading players in the field of medicine? While I do not make claims for the medical
practitioners, I advocate for their rights been given to them. That only NMA members should be appointed as CMDs leaving other medical professions out amounts to saying only graduates of Banking/Finance should head the Central Bank of Nigeria, when there
are graduates of accountancy and economics in the profession, or succinctly put; that only
graduates of political science should hold political positions when they have partners in
graduates of government and public administration. The position of a CMD is equivalent to chief executive officer and should be filled by any qualified medical practitioners, ditto commissioners and ministers of health. For a minister to flagrantly disobey a court order and gets away with it is another dent of the President Goodluck Jonathan administration. It goes to show that Mr. Jonathan day as a vice president were simply wasted years, since he could not learn the “rule of law” from President Musa Yaradua, which was the bench mark of that
administration. For Christ sake, what manner of ministers do we have? Let someone tell
Onyebuchi that we don’t have a minister of NMA but health. Can Mr. Jonathan be bold
enough to sack this man who the medical workers have recommended his sack since
last year? Can this man resign his position as a minister to allow a true health expert take over? With this medical strike and ASUU strike, a serious president would have asked
both ministers to submit their resignation letters, but not Nigeria president. This is the price a leader pay when he leaves experts and technocrats to appoint political thieves in
office. It is time Nigerians call the bluff off these physicians once and for all the way Governor
Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State did last year. It is time Nigerians tell them that they
are like the gatemen in the various government ministries and should not use their pride to cause innocent Nigerians to die in the hospitals with no medical officer to attend to them. I feel their pains as they lie down in their various wards, praying for the strike to be called off. I have been in their shoes losing loved ones not because there are no physicians, but there was no medical lab scientist to carry out a test. I have been to the physiotherapist department in various Nigerian hospitals and see people wriggling in pains, mothers crying to have their husbands treated of strokes, children treated of ebbs palsy, facial nerve and numerous medical conditions, yet there was no hope as the DPTs are on strike. I have known an operation successfully carried out, but because of the absence of a nurse to take care of  the patient; we lost him. This is the pain I feel. Pains that the medical workers don’t feel, as
they forget the Hippocratic Oath the very minute they leave the medical college.The minister of health is not fit for such a sensitive position and while his cronies in NMA who his presence is shielding will not agree to his sack, let the ears of the president listen to his medical colleagues who know his ineptitude and have called for hisremoval. It is not too late to bring back Mrs. Dora Akunyili who I reliably gathered was penciled as health minister, during the Olusegun Obasanjo regime, before the NMA  politics went through the back door to stop it. If this strike will claim the lives of all Nigerians before the minister of health will be removed; so be it. An African proverb says, “Until you lose a loved one before you realize
that other dead bodies are not sticks” To you striking medical practitioners; today I say to you: remember you are fighting more than your own fight, you are fighting for the
future of your profession and you must stand together. Break your chains and demand your
rights, for united you bargain but divided you beg. If there is no struggle, progress is stagnated. May the blood of all the patients that may die as a result of this strike, rest on Mr.
Onyebuchi Chukwu and his generations, now and forever more; amen.
These little things matter…
Fejiro Oliver, a Journalist can be reached on
secretsreporters@gmail.com and
+2348026797588 (sms only please)

Dislaimer; The above post is the opinion of the writer

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