Friday, June 4, 2010

The Cost Of A Strike.

In normal times,  and believe me, our normal times are actually abnormal;it is dangerous to be ill in Nigeria. Doctors are under such immense pressure, there are far too few doctors, attending to far too many patients.That is why people shiver whenever any medical union threatens an industrial action, they know things would be dire, and nasty.

That is why I find it befuddling, that the Lagos state government, would decide to precipitate an industrial action among the state's resident doctors, and ultimately, as it always happens, nationally.

The grouse of the government is that the Resident Doctors of the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital , participated in a national strike. As punishment for participating in the strike, the doctors have been docked ten days pay.

This is the best time to allow "sleeping dogs to lie". A closer examination of the case would reveal a tragic pattern now very familiar in Nigeria: a doctor is the one who has taken the decision to cut salaries.

While one is not advocating paying the doctors for work not done, it is always important to look at the larger picture, and go with the lesser evil. we do not live in a perfect world.

The doctors participated in a national strike action. They belong to an association that engages in collective bargaining for their members. What did the Lagos State Government expect? That their own doctors would not participate in a national strike? That would be perfidious!

In normal times, people die of ailements that have been vanquished in societies with more responsive, and responsible governments. 

At the end of the day, the man on the street would be left with the short end of the stick: it is the "Nigerian way". Those in government who already enjoy access to more that adequate medicare, would now make this an excuse to travel abroad for medical care. Remember the previous occupant of the Villa.

We appeal to our doctors to remember the Hippocratic Oath they swore to, and stay action: and to the  Lagos State Government we say be magnanimous, and pursue dialogue, one cannot put a value on the cost of human lives. 
Both parties should consider, and take to heart, the unimaginable, and unacceptable, suffering that would be visited on Nigerians, who are truly innocent in this delicate matter.

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