LAGOS – Mr Ajibayo Adeyeye, the Majority Leader, Lagos State House of Assembly, on Friday said the ongoing nationwide strike by medical doctors in government-owned hospitals was justified.
Adeyeye, a medical practitioner, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos that unhealthy rivalry was the major challenge facing the nation’s health sector.
“It is very unfortunate that doctors are on strike. “I am never happy when hospitals are closed in the country where an average person cannot afford private healthcare.
“But, the doctors’ demands are justifiable’’, he said.
The lawmaker decried the unhealthy rivalry, which he said, had characterised the sector in recent times.
He said that nurses, laboratory technologists, physiotherapists and other categories of health workers were usurping the duties of doctors.
The House Leader said it was not good for somebody who is not a doctor to be appointed as the head of a hospital.
“I wonder why a matron, who probably because she had served for more than 30 years, could not take instructions from a doctor.
“Medicine requires rigorous training; it is a profession that we are taught almost everything in the interest of patients and the public at large.
“Quackery has become the norm in Nigeria. It is unfortunate that it is only in Nigeria that you can find somebody who is not a member of NMA giving treatment to patients.
“Almost everywhere you go, there are quacks attending to the patients’’, he said.
The lawmaker said that many doctors could not afford to train their own children to become doctors because doctors were so impoverished
“They cannot afford to put their children in schools to train as medical practitioners.
“Lawyers collect 10 per cent; architects collect 3.5 per cent as commission for performing their duties.
“So, what percentage do you want to give a doctor for saving lives? The society should treat doctors fairly”, he said.
The Joint Health Sector Union has taken the Nigeria Medical Association to court for going on strike, claiming that the NMA lacks the constitutional right to do so.
Joined in the suit are the Federal Ministry of Health, Federal Ministry of Labour and Productivity, the Registrar of Trade Unions, and the Attorney-General of the Federation.
The National President of NMA, Dr Kayode Obembe, said the doctors’ 24-point demand included discontinuation of recognition of non-medical doctors as directors and consultants.
The demands also include the appointment of a Surgeon-General of the Federation (SGF), payment of clinical duty and hazard allowances among others. (NAN)