Says govt should have listened to doctors’ demands
By Chioma Obinna
The Lagos State branch of the Nigerian Medical Association, NMA, has faulted the position of the Lagos State Government over the three days warning strike by doctors under its employment, saying, “Government should have listened to the demands of the doctors within the last two weeks ultimatum served by the Medical Guild.
The Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, had on Tuesday in a press statement claimed that the demands of the doctors were being looked into and had approved workers’ allowances and paid.
However, the NMA in its press statement jointly signed by the Chairman, Dr. Adenekan Adetunji, and the Secretary, Dr. Ramon Moronkola claimed that the state had the opportunity of stopping the strike but failed to use it.
“Sadly, it did not happen. The Medial Guild had no choice after what appeared to be an unwillingness of the Lagos state government to address her demands despite the initial three weeks’ notice and another two weeks extension.
The statement reads in part; “The NMA has closely monitored the developments surrounding the ongoing industrial dispute between Lagos state-employed doctors under the auspices of the Medical Guild and Lagos state Government.
“We are aware of the extension of the ultimatum set by the Medical Guild for the LASG to address her demands. Indeed, we were optimistic the window would be explored by both parties to critically and dispassionately address the demands of the Medical Guild.
“It is however curious that the same strike action elicited a rather robust response from the LASG in the form of a press release.
“Why was the two-week window not explored for robust engagements with the Medical Guild in order to avert this avoidable disruption of the health system in the state?” the queried.
The medical doctors stated that while the efforts of the government in responding to the demands of the press release are noteworthy, they argued that the use of unflattering language in the release ‘betrays an intention to antagonise, than seek to dialogue’’ with the Medical Guild.
“Words are powerful which makes the careful use of them is imperative. We hope both parties will go back to the negotiation under an atmosphere of mutual respect and goodwill,” they stated.
Further, the NMA noted that the goodwill enjoyed by the state government among her doctors was seriously damaged by reports of the unceremonious disengagement of doctors working in isolation centres as well as their eviction from their hotel accommodation without thoughts to the danger they might constitute to their loved ones if they returned home without being properly screened for COVID 19.
They reiterated that the Medical Guild was an affiliate of the NMA and has the support of NMA.
“While we do not wish for an escalation of the ongoing dispute in order not to jeopardise the healthcare of Lagosians, we, however, have, as stated above, obligations to the Medical Guild.”
They further appealed to the state government to speedily and holistically address the demands of the doctors to prevent an avoidable escalation.