By Chimezie Godfrey
The Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) has affirmed that the impending indefinite strike by its members could only be averted if Federal government honours their agreement.
In a statement signed by the President, Association of Resident Doctors (ARD), Federal Medical Center (FMC) Abeokuta, Dr. Adekunle Akeem Jimoh, and made available to Newsdiaryonline, the association asked Nigerians to judge.
“Nigerians, it’s 7days to a national indefinite strike by resident doctors. This strike is avertable if the government is serious. We would like you to take a walk with us on some of these issues.
“The government often runs to the court of public opinion to blackmail the doctor, they quote percentages to hoodwink the uninitiated, misquote our oaths to make us look bad but that shall continue no more.
“It is now time to tell our story, as it is often said, until lions learn to tell their stories, it is only the tale of the hunter’s valor that we shall be inundated with. We shall not keep quiet, we shall shout and energize the bellow to fire the cause,” he stated.
Jimoh noted that a quick stop at Ogun state reveals a cantankerous leader who starts a charade on air of how he increased the hazard allowance of the doctors in the state from N5,000 to the folds of 300%.
He pointed out that what he actually did was to increase the monies to N15,000 and then tax it to put N12,000 in those doctors’ pockets.
“Dwelling on that, we shall attempt to do a comparative arithmetic with this man. The doctors there had by themselves been providing Personal Protective Equipments (PPEs) worth at least 200% (N30,000) per month of his supposedly new untaxed hazard allowance.
“In the event that they had hazardous exposure to the hepatitis B for example, the doctors by themselves had been procuring post exposure prophylaxis worth at least 800% (N120,000) of his supposedly new untaxed hazard allowance.
“Let’s leave our medical skills and remind you that we were quite adept in arithmetics. What you have provided falls extremely and abundantly short of what those health workers have been giving and you honestly had no iota of justification to display such uncouth theatrics.
“We shall leave the prince to his lot and delve into other implications of work and its appurtenances during this pandemic so that you can be the judge of who is really being fair to whom.
“Apparently the rotten mango didn’t fall far from the tree, the federal government have started their own drama too. Corona sauntered in and the health workers were asked to take on the task head-on.
“The implications of being a health worker were this; while others stayed at home during the lock down, health workers went to work. While others were at less risk of a novel unseen enemy, the health workers commingled with it.
“Then when it was time to pay for work done, you paid everyone (health workers and others) what they were used to getting as if nothing changed,” he stated.
According to him, the health workers that went to work apparently incurred extra expenses, faced greater health risks and in the heat of it, the government had promised an increased hazard allowance, but apparently that promise can be likened to that of a man who says anything to have his way when his corey is raging.
He noted that now the federal government want to stall and if possible renege on a signed agreement.
Jimoh pointed out that the antics of the federal government would not work this time around,and that their machiavellian arrangement will not be given a chance.
“We have seen first hand how monies since 2014 are yet to be paid because we were patient and attempted to be understanding with people who could not keep promises, but not this time and never again.
“The government must be held accountable for this agreement and the time is now. There is no better time for a government to prioritise health, health workers and health institutions,” he stressed.
He reiterated that the oath that government and its acolytes are quick to quote to cause a stalemate, that the hippocratic oath enumerates proper ethics and states clearly that the doctor should enjoy the practise of her art.
He added that the oath is often misconstrued as saying a doctor should not receive what is rightfully hers, as he maintained that the oath does not say so.
The FMC President stressed that considering the forgoing, resident doctors will have no other choice than to proceed on an indefinite national strike it government fails to do their part.
“A doctor already has so much empathy and considers life before money but should that be a reason to continue to malign, sidestep and be inhumane to doctors?
“Doctors go to the same market as everyone, they send their children to schools like everyone and no one says ‘Oh, that’s a doctor, let’s let her have these goods or those services for free.
“No, not at all, in fact the prices are often hiked with a pseudo-assumption that doctors are rich, where is the fairness in that?
“People of Nigeria, join us in telling the government that enough is enough, we aren’t asking for newspaper allowances, car allowances, house allowances, wardrobe allowances just hazard allowances, is that too much to ask?
“15/06/2020, we shall down-tool albeit sadly should government be unwilling to do the needful. We want to work, let them do their part.
“The good people of Nigeria, we have come to tell you our stories so that you can be the adjudicator,” he concluded.