11th February, 2011
Doctors in public hospitals in Lagos State have been lambasted for departing from the path of honourÂ by embarking on strike.
The Chief Medical Director of Maryland Specialist Hospital and former physician to the late MoshoodÂ Abiola, Dr. Ore Falomo, excoriated the doctors while speaking on a TV programme monitored today inÂ Lagos.
According to Falomo, the ongoing strike by doctors in Lagos â€œis unjustified and uncalled for. ShuttingÂ down emergency ward is bad. It is sheer blackmail for the doctors to go on strike when the Lagos StateÂ government is addressing their demands.â€
Falomo, who has been in practice for 33 years, further queried: â€œWhy should the doctors dischargeÂ patients from hospitals? It doesnâ€™t happen anywhere in the world. Doctors are supposed to beÂ protectors of the patients under their care. They owe obligation to the patients, to God and theirÂ conscience.
â€œThey have a right to agitate but not the way they are going about it. There are over 1,500 doctors inÂ public hospitals but less than 250 of them took the decision to go on strike.
â€œThey went into medicine knowing what it takes. You canâ€™t become a billionaire by becoming a medicalÂ doctor. Doctors in France, Italy, etc. are not happy but they have not gone on strike because theyÂ know that it is against the ethics of their profession to do so.â€
Falomo said when he was a doctor in public service in the 70s and 80s, the Nigerian MedicalÂ Association never went on strike for up to three days.
He added: â€œDuring the military era, the rulers considered health as a social service and never paidÂ much attention to health facilities in the country. The military has an orientation for not savingÂ life and they never listened. So the NMA went on strike briefly.
â€œGeneral Muhammadu Buari, who was then the head of state, became angry and proscribed NMA and arrestedÂ its executives. Highly placed people in the society prevailed on military officers outside governmentÂ to come to terms with the implications the proscription of NMA and arrest of its officials posed toÂ the fate of patients in the hospitals. The officers went and spoke with Buhari who immediatelyÂ deproscribed NMA and released the arrested officials.â€
He said the health institution is too crucial for anybody to toy with, adding that sick people areÂ very vulnerable and should not be abandoned by doctors, not withstanding their grievances.
He urged them to go back to work as the state government was already addressing their grievances.
Doctors in Lagos State owned public hospitals went on strike last Friday to press home their demandÂ for the payment of the new salary approved by the Federal Government.
The state government has described the strike as political and unwarranted because the doctorsâ€™Â demands had already been addressed.