'Soyinka, Traditional Rulers Must Intervene In Lagos/Doctors Face-Off'

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As the face-off between the Lagos State Government and the sacked doctors deepens, a group, Doctors for Human Rights in Nigeria, has called on Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka and traditional rulers in Lagos to intervene in in order to save the health sector from collapsing.

President of the group, Dr. Tuyi Mebawondu, speaking in Lagos, southwest Nigeria, said there was need for peace, adding that the intervention of Soyinka and traditional rulers in the state was key to solving the problem.

He also appealed to the Lagos State government and the doctors to explore the dialogue option, adding that sacking 788 doctors was not the solution to the problem.

“It is a sad development that the relationship between those in the key sector and their employers has degenerated to this level. It is even more challenging when lots of patients are dying.

“The strike could have been avoided; what we are witnessing now could have been averted. The strike is condemnable. Embarking on indefinite strike is a selfish act in the sense that the effect of this is not totally being considered while it causes pains to the patients.

“We need to put up a moralistic aggression against this selfish act. It is sad when the government system is shut down, especially when the hope of the people is in government hospitals,” he said.

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Mebawondu said he expected the doctors not to embark on indefinite strike but to adopt the same position employed by doctors during the protest against fuel subsidy in January when they agreed to attend to critical situations in hospitals.

“Sacking all the doctors will not solve the problem. It will not yield good political dividend. The race to 2015 is on already and the doctors are being used as acid test. Politicians will use this against the government.

“I agree that government needs to be decisive but it has to balance things. I appeal to government to create a window for dialogue. The doctors at this point should sit down and think on what ideas they can bring to boost health care services,” he stated.

According to him, incessant strike devalued the leadership quality of the doctors in the health sector, adding that “we need to bring innovative suggestion on how transform the health sector.

“In those days, we go on strike to ask for proper funding but now it has become about money. Doctors should shift the demand for more pay to retraining themselves,” he said.

—Kazeem Ugbodaga