When doctors weep…

18 May

The past couple of weeks have been a turbulent one for the medical profession in Nigeria as 788 doctors were issued queries and then sacked as a result of a strike action that resulted from futile dialogue with the Lagos state government over its failure to keep its side of an agreement signed by both parties more than a year ago.

We’ve heard the patients and concerned citizens air their views. Doctors have been largely misrepresented by the media according to Dr. Y who believes one of the medical association’s biggest problems is those we select to represent us (hence the losing PR battle). Doctors need to be heard and here’s what some doctors had to say:

Dr. D, an NMA spokesperson said; “Bola Ahmed Tinubu was part of the government team that signed an agreement with Lagos doctors last year, Fashola should honor the agreement. FYI, Lagos judicial workers earn more than Federal judicial workers. Fashola must be a Governor of all not a group”

Dr. IN, a Lagos state doctor has this to say: “The consolidated medical salary scale (CONMESS) was the salary structure designed by the Federal Government four years ago with the aim of providing a uniform salary scale for doctors irrespective of the state, kind of hospital and area of specialization with an annual increment denoting years of experience. Most states in the country immediately began paying CONMESS in full. Two years after this, the medical guild wrote several letters to the Lagos Government to remind them of CONMESS as they were yet to be paid. The governor then SIGNED an agreement that he would commence payment in 2011 with arrears being owed. The Federal Government made it clear that if CONMESS was paid, doctors would ignore the poor work conditions, work extended hours like they have been accustomed to (but this time they would be happy doing it) and they wouldn’t have to leave the country to work abroad. More people would be encouraged to train as doctors and the health of the people would be secured! Instead, tax was increased, CONMESS was not paid, work conditions were not improved, doctors’ lives were lost to stress related illnesses and medical hazards and call rooms were not provided for doctors on call. When Governor Fashola was reminded in January, he simply said the President couldn’t dictate how much he would pay doctors in his state and the tax increase was necessary so the doctors should get used to it! He said he couldn’t afford to pay CONMESS (but he could plan the most expensive birthday party in the World for Alhaji Tinubu). We then embarked on a legal 3-day warning strike with prior notice to sensitize the people and remind the government of the signed agreement. On resumption, all doctors were given individual query letters (for a joint action!), another one was issued, and then letters were issued for “call to panel / impending dismissal from duty”.  A week later, armored tanks were brought to all Lagos General Hospitals and Teaching Hospital Lasuth, Ikeja with doctors walked out of their clinics while seeing patients. The Med guild immediately called for an indefinite strike and the Lagos state government was sued for breach of agreement and victimization of doctors. Fake pay slips were published in the papers some weeks ago claiming doctors were being paid as much as 900,000 whereas a medical professor of 20 years has never been paid as much as 500,000. A Neurosurgeon (brain surgeon) consultant still collects 171,000 as basic salary (excluding allowances). Be informed we have only about 20 in Nigeria (Two of them with Lagos state, they trained in America and they have both been sacked!) and these are doctors who work round the clock due to the number of head injuries daily as a result of road traffic accidents. 3 days ago, we were issued sack letters and 97 doctors (not 373 like you heard) were employed as Locum doctors (doctors paid per hour). These locum doctors need residents and consultants to put them through. It takes years of experience to perform a caesarian section on a woman or a brain surgery (especially bore hole to relieve increased brain pressure or blood in the brain) or an appendectomy or treat a sick child or even to help a mentally ill patient. The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) has made it clear that the newly appointed doctors should not & would not accept the job offer and that all doctors across the nation would join in the strike against victimization on Friday after the ongoing professional exams. The issue is now beyond CONMESS struggle – the government is aiming to devour the medical and dental profession. Be informed that doctors are not slaves, our Hippocratic oath explains that we owe an obligation to our patients and they owe an obligation to us and our services must be paid for.”

This is the Hippocratic oath that binds doctors all over the world:

‘I swear by Apollo, the healer, Asclepius, Hygieia, and Panacea, and I take to witness all the gods, all the goddesses, to keep according to my ability and my judgment, the following Oath and agreement:

To consider dear to me, as my parents, him who taught me this art; to live in common with him and, if necessary, to share my goods with him; To look upon his children as my own brothers, to teach them this art; and that by my teaching, I will impart a knowledge of this art to my own sons, and to my teacher’s sons, and to disciples bound by an indenture and oath according to the medical laws, and no others. I will prescribe regimens for the good of my patients according to my ability and my judgement and never do harm to anyone. I will give no deadly medicine to any one if asked, nor suggest any such counsel; and similarly I will not give a woman a pessary to cause an abortion. But I will preserve the purity of my life and my arts. I will not cut for stone, even for patients in whom the disease is manifest; I will leave this operation to be performed by practitioners, specialists in this art. In every house where I come I will enter only for the good of my patients, keeping myself far from all intentional ill-doing and all seduction and especially from the pleasures of love with women or with men, be they free or slaves. All that may come to my knowledge in the exercise of my profession or in daily commerce with men, which ought not to be spread abroad, I will keep secret and will never reveal. If I keep this oath faithfully, may I enjoy my life and practice my art, respected by all humanity and in all times; but if I swerve from it or violate it, may the reverse be my life.’

The original text of the Hippocratic Oath is usually interpreted as one of the first statements of a moral of conduct to be used by doctors. Being a doctor from ages past has always been an honorable profession. The doctors were not usually the wealthiest citizens but they and their families did not suffer untold hardship and they were revered. Many doctors in Nigeria die unsung, unable to provide for their families in their death, from diseases mostly due to medical hazards. Those alive and working can barely make ends meet and cannot substitute financial aid for the time and attention their families are deprived of. So what is a doctor’s reward in Nigeria? Or should we also join the queue for 70 virgins in heaven?

Dr. OF, a doctor working outside Lagos says: “Where I work, I have not gone on leave for 5 years because of the patients. No time to see my parents or siblings, attend burial of friends and relatives and weddings of close friends. I have lost many friends who think that I’m only pretending to be busy meanwhile I see patients every other day that can only be equated to church sessions. Many people cannot sit near a HIV positive patient, but these are the people, whose blood I put hands in everyday during surgery, and their blood splashes into my eyes, mouth and face yet I endure because I won’t abandon them to die. I risk my own life and my family’s life every day to care for others. What I get as hazard allowance monthly is only N5000!!!  If I ask my employer to keep an agreement to help me feed my family, is that too much to ask?”

Dr. B, a Nigerian medical doctor practicing in the US says; “Nigerians need to change their mindset, doctors have lost it all in Naija, from money to respect. The respect and pay of registered nurses (RN) in the US is unthinkable let alone doctors. In many instances you will have to downplay being a doctor because of the attention you get”

Dr. OO had this to say: “We live in a tribal society: ethnic tribes, religious tribes and in this case professional tribe, so I understand why non-doctors would find the fact that doctors should ever have a reason to go on strike repulsive and why doctors would find the lack of understanding from the general populace unbelievable. Like all polarized debates, people are leaning towards their gut instinct, which is hardly objective, but emotionally driven. The doctors’ association needs to get off the emotional debate because trust me statements such as “oh, I work too hard and earn so little” is never going to come out tops against sentiments like “my dad died yesterday because doctors were on strike.”  Looking at it in this manner, it becomes easier to understand why we are losing what Dr. F calls the “PR war” and why we are likely to lose future ones. As a doctor, I know first-hand what it is like to treat patients without light, giving injection drugs in the dark, putting myself at the risk of needle stick injuries far from the watching eyes of the public. I do it because, like the public, I care about your dad not dying even though I know you would never ask if a needle pricked me last night. I remember a particular incidence. We had an emergency, an unconscious pregnant woman with a blood pressure 280/220mmhg (severe hypertension) who was almost at term. She was unbooked and my call was almost over but I was available. Her husband had just 200 Naira on him. We had to operate on her within the next hour with no blood, no money and no drugs. But guess what? We did! That was the first time I had a needle stick injury because NEPA/PHCN was at their norm. Minutes later the air was filled with the cry of a pretty baby girl in the arms of a doting grandmother and father. In the background were the moans of a slowly rousing mother and then there was me with a pensive look on my face while awaiting the results of my HIV test. I was okay. Even though, I had worked overtime and had to be up to make work in the morning which was now 2 hours away, there was no complain, no feeling of accomplishment because in my “tribe” I was not unique. It is the story of 788 and thousands of other people I share a proud profession with. I got a gracious thank you from the family, a thankful smile from the now recuperating mother and a smiling appreciation from my parents when I narrated it to them. So to the “court of public opinion” we don’t just measure remunerations in cash only, we do in kind as well. I am sure I am a thousand “thank you” richer and a million “smiles” wealthier because of the job I do. Now all we are asking is that the LASG should match our generosity with trustworthiness and our patience with understanding.”

Today the punch newspaper announced that doctors in Federal Government Hospitals in Lagos State have begun an indefinite strike.

Dr. K summarizes the doctor’s plight in these words: “Back in the days the next to a nation’s president was the surgeon General…what do we have now? Back in the days doctors used to get accommodation for free or for cheaper prices now doctors are being evicted from the shams they call quarters. Back then you would never want to travel to America after medical school because you were entitled to a car and good pay but now doctors go to even Ghana where circumstances are better for doctors. Back then we had functioning hospitals but now we cancel surgeries week-in week-out because there are no sterile materials, no dependable power supply…”

Dr. T warns: “A government not sensitive to the health of its citizenry is like a walking corpse. Worse of all is the senseless approach to employ rookie doctors to fill in for consultants. I sympathize with the poor people of Lagos state, I pray for the doctors who have always left their families to take care of us despite the harsh conditions, I would advise Governor Fashola to have a rethink and reinstate the sacked doctors.”

There’s no citizen who hasn’t benefitted from health aid provided by a doctor. Doctors have served you tirelessly, thanklessly and in all manner of conditions both safe and extremely dangerous but these doctors are human too and if it has gotten to a stage where a strike is the only way the Government will pay attention to their cry then be angry with an uncaring government, be mad at a government that would frustrate one of the most important sectors of the economy while they fly their families overseas. Be mad at a government that will put the lives of its people in jeopardy. Be mad at a government that callously breaches legal agreements made with its workforce but please do not be mad at the doctors, they are the victims here. When a doctor weeps, his patients weep too…Fashola harden not your heart!

Have a great day people. xoxoxo


Posted by on May 18, 2012 in Hall of Fame, Health, Uncategorized


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40 responses to “When doctors weep…

  1. lynxx

    May 18, 2012 at 1:15 pm

    Nice piece. Hope pple will read dis cuz d gen public rili needs to undastd wat s goin on. N one more thing, health is not cheap, everywhere. Those dat travel out for diff medical procedures can relate to dat so If lagos state government feels dat dey can afford to provide a free “quality” health care for d pple, dats fine but I don’t see it being feasible n sustainable in d long term n so dey sd not hide unda d umbrella of “we r providing free health care for d pple”.

  2. chi

    May 18, 2012 at 5:51 pm

    I’m a registered nurse but I can’t help being touched by this piece. I have to say that d same thing goes for the nurses too in this country. We are all marginalized in the health profession. The public needs to read dis piece and understand what’s happening. Nurses and doctors abroad are more respected and treated properly. This is indeed an eye opener.

  3. Dr. Jummie

    May 18, 2012 at 5:56 pm

    Finally, here is a piece that address this issue spot-on. Kudos! While discussing with my better half about the media’s role in victimising Dr.s or the poor representation of doctors in reports,he was quick to remind me that ‘who owns the media?’ Its just so amazing how the stories have been twisted to get the masses all sentimental. If Nigerian healthcare sector is ever going to get better, a lasting, genuine, and honest solution has to be provided to this problem because if it ends otherwise, it will only pave way for further harassment of Dr.s by those in power. People should not be angry at Doctors but at the Government who only turns to listen in the face of an industrial action/strike.

  4. Abi

    May 18, 2012 at 6:58 pm

    Good read. I really do hope and pray people get to read this because at the end of the day it is people and I mean the general citizenry that needs to understand these issues because just like in almost every area of our lives as Nigerians we are bieng scammed. Bieng deceived into turning against one another while those seemingly cleverer than us, the politicians get to have their way once again. Now the scam is that doctors are overpaid and selfish and are ungrateful. People believe this and support govt to underpay doctors while councillors who hardly do any work are bieng paid almost the same thing as doctors. Another scam and we are falling for it. Today it may be Doctors tomorrow it will be another profession. We cannot let the government continue to have their way when it is now obvious that they do not have our best interests at heart. Fashola has already flown his dad out of the country for treatment, what happens to the rest of us who cannot afford same. It is time to stop bieng mugus and falling for cheap scams concocted by devious politicians and unite against this travesty of justice. Doctors are one of the most hard-working, patient and self-sacrificial members of society. Fashola has declared war on them, its time for all of us to stand up for what’s right otherwise tomorrow we could be the ones bieng set up as villains. God bless Nigeria.

  5. tunmi

    May 18, 2012 at 7:22 pm

    Thank you so much for getting the doctors’ perspectives. Honestly, I have been looking everywhere to get information on what the doctors thing. They have a horrible PR and if we must do that job, we must. I plan to be a medical doctor and I’m in the States and I do plan to come back to Naija but hearing things of doctors being sacked (DOCTORS!!!!) is horrible. That should never happen. If it sounds like I am putting doctors on a pedestal then I am, I am because they do good and irreplaceable work. They don’t just go through about a decade of schooling for nothing.

    I’ll make sure to get your blog out there because people must know the truth.

  6. sanmi O

    May 18, 2012 at 7:23 pm

    To be truthful, I did not read through the entire article because I don’t see the point in ranting. The peopLe who are advicing the governor on this matter are not biochemists or lab scientists, they are doctors like you and me, and they have sold out on their own kind. The judicial community have a pact, a strict code by which they operate. Doctors have always had the anti-progressive mentality ( masterful inactivity). Untill doctors change this mentality, there is not much that can be done. Instead of coming to an amicable conclusion/ resolution, the state commissioner decided to hire locum doctors. It all boils down to attitude. #mytwocents*

    • funshe

      May 19, 2012 at 10:23 pm

      i totally agree with you

  7. tunmi

    May 18, 2012 at 7:30 pm

    I just need your confirmation that these are the words of actual doctors. I mean no disrespect and I apologize if it comes that way but I want to get your writing out to people who have no idea what doctors are going through and I need to make sure those are actually doctors’ words. Thank you

    • Neetah

      May 18, 2012 at 7:37 pm

      Yes Tunmi, I assure you that these are the words of actual doctors.

      • tunmi

        May 20, 2012 at 12:10 am

        Thanks 🙂

  8. cycatrx

    May 18, 2012 at 8:08 pm


  9. Busayo Olaboade

    May 18, 2012 at 9:14 pm

    Kudos to all our medical doctors.They’re saving lives@ d expense of theirs.Gov Fashola pls reinstate these people back,dont add to the existing unemployment.

    • slickjay

      May 18, 2012 at 11:14 pm

      This is a great piece..quite representative of the plight of doctors..I understand the need for proper p.R, and this is a way forward..However, I find it amusing,that as doctors we are ready to settle for less than ideal conditions of practice, but collect ideal pay..we are grabbing for our bit of the national cake, like every smart professional or politician..lawyers like they say are liars,but doctors are the nobler sect..I haven’t seen a fight for more personnel,ensuring uninterrupted hospital power suspply,reliable tests results, more one is talking of d doctor patient ratio of 1: 14000..if ure paid a million A month, I know u won’t complain, but seriously,under all these conditions, do u really think services will improve..I think the Nigerian system is in turmoiL, and needs a proper fix..other “not-so” professionals are paid far less..if they decided to go on strike, then what happens??? Imagine the army went on strike for money? Or fire services? Let’s agree they are the military and about a proper strike for what the ideal should be. At least one sector that actually gives a SHiT about the Nigerian people. The politicians are a greedy selfish seems to me we’re not placing the patient”above all else”, as the new oath states..we have joined their filthy ranks. STriking for more money..after reaching agreements, with the professional liars-i meant lawyers. Goodluck with the strike, I daresay in this fight there’s no winner or vanquished..I hope the doctors are reinstated, and monies owed,paid,and agreements fulfilled..all that is shallow in a country where all else is failing

  10. stella maris

    May 18, 2012 at 10:30 pm

    Well, Ĭ must talk from d laymans point of view. Left to me,doctors av suffered @̤̥̣̈̊̇
    lot. Its only God that can repay them. But while on earth,LASG should answer them o. Most of them in govt are being paid for Ŋаƌα. Ɣ¿ not pay those working, after dem go talk say jonathan, jonathan……. D̶̲̥̅̊ε̲̣̣̣̥y are worse dan him. Α̲̅πϑ for fashola,Ĭ knew he Ɯüƶ јєǯ too good to be thru……….God will judge us all

  11. Seyi Anjorin

    May 18, 2012 at 11:07 pm

    Good piece, God bless you for this write up…. I sincerely dont know how we doctors get to this point, but this one thing Im sure of, you can sack as many of us as you like, we will always get job in another place as far as you are a doctor…… It’s just a pity, bcos the populace are the one that will suffer… I think pple should understand this fact…….

  12. Keiskwerd

    May 19, 2012 at 2:35 am

    Really don’t know how we got this far, to this state of lack of reverence for the medical profession; a profession so likened to godliness, now being dragged in the mud by the very ones that should pass the tenets of the profession as well as its glory to the younger ones! They have dined with mere mortals called politicians and have thought themselves as equal, rather, as that lowly! No, you are not! To all the commissioners of health out there, to all the ministers of health, to all The directors of health services, to all the doctors with political appointments, to all the governors, perm secs, Even presidents, to all our colleagues in other professions, to all those In non professional fields and to even our patients……to all of you out there who feel that doctors have had more than they can chew, that doctors have been pampered, that doctors have had royal treatment all along, have had more than they deserve…… all of u, a big shame! If I wrote this knowing that only you in this category who feel this way would read this, then I would have wasted my time!
    I rather write with tears to that poor lady who tried to force a 200 naira note into my palms even as I refused……..happy to be relieved of her pains, who begged that I accept that as a gift……who probably did not have more than her transport fare back and I had to assure her that thank you was just ok. I would write again for that cancer patient who had her mastectomy and comes in monthly for chemotherapy and as often as possible repeats thank you and when I ask her why, she says for a chance to be one of those that survived breast cancer. I write for that newly diagnosed retroviral disease patent who did not want to confront life anymore, who had a turnaround just with counseling and was able to face life again with a smile! I write for those cries that emanate from the labour wards, the rhythmic movements of the local women screaming and dancing at d cry of a newborn; for the tears of joy from that mother whose lethargic child becomes playful and lastly for the countless patients we paid for investigations for, yes, with this same salaries, for the patients we donated our own blood for, for patients we sometimes transported, for the countless patients we bought food for, gave gifts to, visited on public holiday
    Years back, when I decided I wanted to read medicine, I remember my mom always repeated phrases like ‘it’s a noble profession’, ‘it has a lot of prestige’. She probably never knew years down the line that the day would come when doctors would be sacked! She actually also never mentioned anything like doctors being very wealthy! But then she couldn’t have encouraged her daughter to pursue a cause marked by poverty! She single handedly raised her kids and trained her kids so that one day, they would have enough to take care of themselves and then her!
    To all the gullible members of public who already believe doctors earn as high as 900000, I can’t blame you, you probably believe other lies ur government tells you. However, let’s be logical. Let’s assume you have a job u cannot accomplish on your own, say ur kid is preparing for a math exam and u employ the services of the math teacher. This math teacher asks that u pay his outstanding bills to no avail or he quits. You bluff to your child that all would be well as u sack the teacher even as u remember that math is not your area of specialty. All is not well as ur kid fails her exams. Who do u think that child would blame? The parent/ the teacher?
    When would Nigerians start realizing that the government indeed owes them a whole lot! Let’s forget about doctors for a bit. Are u aware that you the public have failed yourselves by failing to challenge the government to provide u with better? Can’t you remember the queues that u joined while waiting to see doctors? Oh, u think that with the sack of these doctors those queues would shorten? At a time when you all should have joined the protest, remind the government of the need for more doctors, more hospitals in those villages you transport ur selves from, more facilities to aid ur treatment; no, u decided to fight the bitter fight! You decided to bite the fingers that fed you health! You ignored the scavengers up there who have for 12 years promised a reduction in maternal mortality to no avail, u took the side of a government that cannot eradicate mosquitoes from your homes against those who ensure you are healed of malaria; a government who is yet to be able to provide potable water, how could you stand with them? A government who romances with child killer diseases! How could you? Do you have a conscience? How do you feel even entering a hospital? Don’t you feel guilty just being attended to by a doctor if u feel they don’t deserve adequate renumeration? Why don’t you visit your governor for your health needs?
    Somehow it feels like Fasholacould have gone as far as sacking all the doctors on the state! He probably feels doctors are dispensable. Funny thing is that the public would probably adapt by visiting chemists who would cash in on the booming business. Truth is that while the suffering for doctors affected may last for a while, it would only be just that: a while! The doctors would probably be inconvenienced a bit by relocating to private hospitals/ other states and some would even leave the country………In case u haven’t noticed, doctors don’t stay jobless long, why? Cos d demand is high! On the other hand, remember that the only victim is you the public!
    Wake up lagosians, and do this! Take up this fight not just for doctors, but for yourselves, because u deserve better! Go out there enmass and demand for a reversal of this senseless act that has not been thought through! Do it for your kids who would become doctors tomorrow! Do it for ur unborn grandchild who would need a doctor…….do it because everyone indeed needs a doctor

    • ifedayo

      May 20, 2012 at 10:42 am

      Kathy, words well spoken. someday soon, the average Nigerian will begin to realize that these thieves called political office holders have done them the greatest of injustice and will for once, fight back to preserve a future for their children!
      we shall overcome soon.

    • Jemima

      May 22, 2012 at 12:25 pm

      Wow, this brought tears to my eyes, what a pity it has come to this, most of my closest friends are doctors only one is still in Nigeria, even she is making arrangements to go to Canada, can i blame her/them? sad sad sad!

  13. Babz

    May 19, 2012 at 5:16 am

    Fashola should leave sentimentsand recall the doctors. As a leader you carry a lot of responsibility and would be held accountable for any outcome whether good or bad. I personally feel its outrageous and childish to sack over 700 experienced personnel at the same time in a particular place. What is then the size of the work force. And to consider that this personnels are from a highly placed profession p

  14. Alao

    May 19, 2012 at 5:20 am

    I learnt from the grapevine that some of the senior doctors are working at night to review and operate the patients seen by the profaning new recruits in the morning!

  15. yetunde A

    May 19, 2012 at 5:35 am

    Anita thanks for this nice piece, first of all, I can relate very well to how most of the experiences of the above doctors, medical education is the most expensive and longest training everywia, so bad that abroad people take loans to go for it.. And I wonder why fashola thinks the renumeration shud not reflect that.. That aside pple conveniently forget the part of the OATH that says MAY I ENJOY LIFE. For instance I av bn working in a federal hospita since january and this is May, I am yet to be paid.. I av not downed tools or done anything drastic about it, I doubt if any member of the general public could do that, yet I am human and have bills to pay.. So the general public need to be better informed and mad at their government, not me.. Lastly like u said we need better PR to represent we doctors, I think its very important…

  16. keziah's dew

    May 19, 2012 at 7:39 am

    Hmmmmmmmm, I’m an event planner o, but I totally recognise with the plight of the medical profession in this country. I grew up in a medical & academic environment, I’ve got both parents, siblings, former neighbours, and friends in the medical profession. A lot of them have had to abandon their medical desired profession to seek greener pastures in other non-medical fields and outside of this country. Its really sad and yet annoying when I see or hear about how some prominent figure threw a non needed overly expensive event. Trust me its my line of business and even then they still want the best for next to nothing. Its been a while now, but I still can’t get over the story of the cross river state governor who flew out of the country in a private jet, because he had sustained a sprain to his wrist in an accident caused by his very own entourage o. Hmm, it is well. The LORD is our strength.

  17. Seun

    May 19, 2012 at 10:33 am

    The Doctor’s plight is symptomatic of the grave decadence and rot in the system. What do we want to say of Policemen on the street – how much do they earn, they have needs and go to do same market as all of us do. They save lives too (though in a different way) and face serious life-threatening hazards (usual targets for Armed Robbers and Bokos). Sentiments apart, as inefficient and as they are, are they dispensable? don’t we need them? Are they getting better treatment? Imagine a situation in which nigerian policemen go on indefinite strike to fight for salary increase and allowance. How many professionals – health or non-health professional, will be able to go about their practice? I make bold to say that not all policemen are corrupt, not all are illiterates, some are brilliant graduates who are good at what they do. I’m sorry to say, not all Doctors and nurses really care about their patients. I wish we can take polls of patients satisfaction in government hospitals. I know government is mainly faulty in not providing conducive environments and facilities for effective service delivery but many Doctors are also sometimes guilty of negligence and carelessness. There are unwarranted loss, due to mistakes and negligence which were covered up. How many erring doctors have been sanctioned and sued? Doctors deserve respect, better pay and treatment. Policemen also do – likewise lawyers, accountants, engineers, pharmacists, teachers etc. I think professionals employing indefinite industrial action to press home their demand is too harsh. Nigerian university system has not fully recovered from the negative effect of Lecturers’ frequent strike action in the recent past. However, if any professional group will use total industrial action (indefinite strike action), let it be to fight against lapses in the system, not for CONMESS implementation and Salary increase. I will be the first person to get in line if the indefinite strike action is to provide 24hours electricity especially at sensitive department like emergency, regular supply of needed drugs and medical equipments, build more wards to decongest the overpopulated wards, hire more doctors to reduce the Doctor:patient ratio, etc. Although, some may argue that they’re part of the fight but we all know that they are secondary! If this is done, the public will do the bidding, media houses will broadcast it louder and clearer. If these are fought for and next time you raise issues on wages – it won’t suffer public sympathy!

    • ebun

      May 19, 2012 at 12:08 pm

      Is it the policemen that decide to keep mute but become the armed robbers that terrorize u daily.d police are well paid .its their ogas that seat on their money and treat the lower cadre police like slaves..Pls dont compare doctors to policemen,the truth is dat health is wealth.If anyone is sick,irrespective of ur profession,doctor inclusive,can u do anything productive?If govt like’s dont do anything abt d whole situation and in fact sack all the doctors in nigeria, let everyone turn to chemist or private hospital and wait to see the results,

    • ifedayo

      May 20, 2012 at 11:08 am

      dear seun,
      its a pity that our generation and this nation has suffered a lot from the unnecessary strike actions embarked on by several unions and bodies over the last 20 years. our educational sector is a mess, power/electricity is a vacuum that never stops sucking from the annual budget; security of lives and property are at an all-time low. BUT all these cannot be equated with the value of a single human life. the power and knowledge to determine the best line of action to save life has been vested in the medical profession. such knowledge would have best been kept with the gods,if mere mortals like you and i in government,would be unable to guarantee that the person who chose to cater for the lives of his fellow human being should now be the one whose survival is at risk in the society.
      doctors do a difficult job, the burden of care on us is much. we are not even guaranteed of a peaceful sleep due to the on-going processes of reviewing our daily clinical decisions even while on our beds at home. the government has to be answerable to the needs of its people. the patient-doctor ratio is killing in public hospitals. how effective can i be when i have to attend to more than 35-40 new human complaints about health daily? to make things worse, the facilities to cater for these complaints are just not there! we patch-up here and there, improvise, rationalize but its not getting us anywhere. our governments are not interested in providing us with necessary infrastructure to cater for an ever-increasing populace! and u dare say we don’t care about their patients. that,my brother is so unfair to us.
      if some of us still choose to remain in the land of our birth to cater to our people’s health needs, we should not be made to regret not opting to join the ‘drained-brains” that chose to leave for a better future for themselves.
      in case you have the ears of anyone in government, tell them that the day is upon them when they shall need the services of a an adequately motivated medical doctor for an emergency…and they shall meet the compromised,weather-beaten,society-scorned,family-disappointing personnel at his duty post. don’t expect a miracle to happen at that juncture!

  18. Charles

    May 19, 2012 at 10:39 am

    Anita, this is your best so far! Go for it. Doctors need a voice. You have provided it. Thank you!

  19. Koye

    May 19, 2012 at 1:18 pm

    Yes, all that has been written is true but let no side in this issue try to play victim. The real victims are the innocent citizens of this country that have been suffering and dying due to this strikes.
    Maybe we can all go on strike, the doctors, nurses and even the patients because I can see a nurse saying they too are being marginalized. We are all being marginalized in this country my dear but we can’t all go on strike. Especially you guys. It’s sickening to imagine that our doctors are on strike, have you really thought of it that people would die?
    Are we so out of ideas that the only way out in this case is to go on strike? We are now going to court right, to do what? To waste more time so more people can die? Or make more money for the judicial system you compare yourselves with?
    Some years ago and on so many occassions, our education sector has had to go through series of industrial actions, but has it given the desired results? No! All we have is more private universities springing up. Same applies in the country’s health sector with the goal of numerous strikes yet to be achieved.
    The results of the many strikes in the education sector were delayed graduation, increased crime rates and a lot of time loss but this does not apply in the case of the doctors on strike, in this case we have lives, many LIVES being lost and here you guys try to trivialize the oath you all took. God will definitely be the judge in this case.
    You say the government pays the judicial peeps more than doctors, don’t you doctors earn more than teachers and so many others? We live in a sick system, a country where people can live anyhow, act anyhow and still claim to be the victim or hero. I don’t blame any of you, doctor or government, keep it up! Let’s see how far you guys can go with this childish drag of rag dolls. I’d just keep praying I don’t need any of your service soon. It’s not like you guys were giving the best of service sef, we have only been managing so don’t make it look like you are doing us a favour by going on strike. FYI, we pay for these services, it has never been free and we still pay you through your private hospitals (we know you work there too…)
    And to you the government, the show of strength by a father is not by being at loggerhead with his son even when you think he’s doing wrong. Yes they shouldn’t go on strike and you can query and even sack, but it doesn’t change anything. You made a promise, if you can’t keep the promise, please explain and see how you can make alternative arrangements. Is it that hard to govern? You don’t kill a rat in the kitchen by blowing up the whole building.
    Nawa o, shey na mistake say them born me for this Naija ni? I’ve got so many good things (electricity, health, good roads, security etc) to live without and bad things (strikes, clueless governance, boko haram and lack of the basic social ammenities) to live with. God dey…

    • Keiskwerd

      May 20, 2012 at 1:46 pm

      No one is playing the victim. The only victim would ultimately be the public. The public just doesn’t realise it yet. That’s d only reason they would still take sides with govt. anyway, so many of you have said that working for lagos government is not by force, same way since u are not happy with services doctors provide you, get another option! Luckily for you, numerous traditional healers, chemists and quacks still exist! You can even educate ur self via d Internet and self medicate!
      Just for clarification, we never compared ourselves to lawyers cause we obviously are not on the same pedestal! Rather what was said is that lawyers in lagos are being paid on a higher scale than their federal counterparts which is not normal suggesting that some favoritism is at play ESP as that is his profession. He claimed that doctors in lag earn more than their counterparts in other states, this is not true as I work outside of lag and earn higher than those that were in lag. It’s a thing of principle, let him abide by his words. Very sadly, industrial actions remain the only tool where repeated dialogue has failed.

  20. BESSY

    May 19, 2012 at 1:44 pm

    i love dis piece!!!!!!!!!wish d general public can get to read dis.really an eye opener.though, i am a nurse,i really do feel your plight.d ppl should wake up and stand up to thier right.Are doctors not human beings?do they ave special schools for thier children?or do they av a special market where their goods are being subsidized?do they av a special supermarket or boutique for shopping?so,y is d govt against thier fightting for thier right?if d govt is really concerned abt d health and welfare of it’s citizen then dey should make a room for dialogue and also fufil thier promises and aggreements.For d populace,if dis strike is really hitting us deep,den we should all cry out to d govt for help and fight for our right.will u bcos ur spouse is a doctor den allow him go without giving u soup money?or is it all abt being called a doctor and den having nothing to show for it?our govt are misplacing thier priorities,dey know how to celebrate carnival,birthdays,give money to entertainment industries but dont know aw to make thier health care personnels comfortable.if fashola thinks he can sack dat appreciable no of doctors and he thinks 97 will do d work,dem he must be joking and considered a dreamer.doctors,dont let ur guards down.d battle will be won,one voice is wat u need.aluta continua

    • Keiskwerd

      May 20, 2012 at 1:52 pm

      Thank you so much bessy! When it starts affecting the public, we would know! Then they would on their own cry out to fashola!

  21. Dr Scottish

    May 19, 2012 at 2:04 pm

    This is a moving piece. It brings a tear to my eye… The right eye to be precise. And the piece is also entirely true. I have had a needle prick, from an HIV positive patient. I had to take anti HIV drugs, for 1 month, and suffer the serious side effects that followed. And it was a harrowing 3 months wait, to get my confirmatory result, to see if I was a victim of my patients illness. That experience however did not deter my drive to do my best for my patient, whether HIV positive or not. I have made friends, and am still friends with a lot of them. The experience however taught me, that if I die as a result of an illness gotten from my job as a doctor, no one, except my colleagues and family would care, and I d be just another statistic in the nations recorded deaths of that year.
    It is sad, extremely sad that drs have to resort to strike just to get the government to listen to what they have to say, and to implement an agreement reached over a year ago. Fashola was 1 of the few governors I had any respect for. All that is gone now. Cos his behavior is utterly unacceptable, highly disappointing, and totally condemnable.
    He should do quick to retract his steps, reinstate the sacked doctors, and implement the approved salary scale. The path of war which he is currently towing will lead to no where but destruction.
    It is rather unfortunate, cos at the end of the day, it is still the people who the government is supposed to be serving, that suffer.
    May God bless our dear country Nigeria, and may he bless us all…

  22. Moji Sanusi

    May 19, 2012 at 4:26 pm

    Anita, thanks for this piece! u don’t know how much lower u’ve made my blood pressure.

  23. Toby

    May 19, 2012 at 5:28 pm

    Please other people should fight for their rights too. Don’t tell me abt policemen or teachers or whoever. Do they expect us to fight for them too? YES, I’m a doctor and YES we want more pay. Do u think when I wanted to become a doctor, I planned to be in poverty too? You ppl r unbelievable, claiming we shld fight for better facilities and more doctors. Is it d government that can’t satisfy d existing doctors dt u want to hire more doctors? If u think we r terrible people, pls go and buy JAMB form and study medicine so that u can replace us.

    • Keiskwerd

      May 20, 2012 at 1:56 pm

      My dear! See me see wahala! Like we are on the same salary scale with police men! The day a police man drops his gun and says he is no longer working due to poor work conditions or poor renumeration, I would not preach to that policeman but rather cry out to the government co I know ultimately I may not be safe!

  24. ifedayo

    May 20, 2012 at 10:35 am

    Dear Governor fasola, if u and your mentors can afford to fly to ‘pluto’ to provide heathcare service for your family and friends, the remaining 93% of us cannot. So stop stop playing chess with the lives of innocent lagosians who don’t deserve the hardship of seeking expensive private healthcare services. People are dying because you refuse to honour an agreement your government signed over 14months ago. If you can’t honour your own words, what’s the use of any negotiation with your administration.
    Day X approaches(the day when that one more person whose death would cause a total breakdown of order in your world)!
    Pls forward this in solidarity with the innocent lagosians that are suffering under ‘tyranny’ of a government that promised to serve its people but now turned slave-master!

  25. JUMOKE

    May 22, 2012 at 11:34 pm

    actually doctors are really trying,i use to commend their effort on humanitarian services cos i had some of them has friends &family,i will b glad if d lagos state governor cos @least reason along wit them& fulfill their own part of d agreement cos i see no reason person enter an agreement which he/she can fulfill or cope with

  26. yoyodmaster

    May 23, 2012 at 1:43 pm

    i once asked: if Fashola did not sack the docs, does it make him less d gov of Lagos state? its only plp dat are battling with complex dat try to make unneeded statement/play politics @the expense of thousands of lives.dats the challenge with going abroad to bring plp wu know next to nothing abt wot dia colleagues face hea to come and lord over them all in the name of ‘wealth of experience’.i am so disappointed in him and all the plp dat surround him. his action is sickening and jst goes to affirm: A POLITICIAN WILL ALWAYS BE A POLITICIAN, EITHER HIDIN UNDER THE WIG, OR AS AN AREA BOI.

  27. Neetah

    May 31, 2012 at 5:44 pm

    @Channels_TV: BREAKING: Fashola recalls all sacked doctors I’m so happy. Thank God it’s finally over. The doctors are happy, the people are happy!!!

    • tunmi

      June 10, 2012 at 4:08 am

      but does the matter get resolved? Will their salaries be paid?

  28. Da Riva

    November 18, 2012 at 4:20 am

    my fellow doctors, leave that mad country quickly…..before they kill you.
    Your first duty is to yourself, the duty of self preservation….do not sentimentalise things, nobody sentimentalises about you when you go to the market to buy beans, the okada man never gives you a free ride, the hard work and sacrifice it took you to get where you are is your effort, its not some gift that you are supposed to pay forward to your detriment. you live in a mad country, dont go mad yourself. Nigeria is a country going nowhere fast, your state is building an island in the atlantic while you are treating the citizens it claims to represent with no electricity, no drugs, no labs for rubbish pay…you do your state work and then run to some private clinic to make a few bob to feed your children, scraping from one month to the other, some bastard flashing about in his air-conditioned 4X4 (claiming to be the messiah of your people) threatens to sack you for asking for a salary that is less than the price of his suit….sorry boys and girls, wake up and smell the roses..
    its time to get out of there, I was an intern in lagos 14 yrs ago and it was hell even then, when I started working abroad i felt for the first time a real sense of what my profession is. please take a bold step and leave that hell hole before it robs you of your God given right to life and self actualisation.


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