World Association of Family Doctors condemn Lagos doctors strike
By AZOMA CHIKWE AND OGE OKONKWO
Tuesday, May 01 , 2012

Prof. Onyechuchi Chukwu & • Gov. Babatunde Fashola

The World Organisation of Family Doctors, (WONCA) Africa region, has condemned Lagos State doctors strike, asking them to go back to work in the interest of humanity. The body said it was sad and embarrassing that industrial action has now become a perennial tool used by colleagues in the medical profession in Nigeria to express dissatisfaction and make demands for the improvement of their welfare.

Speaking to newsmen in Lagos, Regional President, WONCA Africa, Dr. Sylvester Tola Osinowo, said every medical doctor swore to the Hippocratic oath, which is binding on all medical personnel. “It is not compulsory for every medical doctor to practise under the employment of Lagos State and if you are willing to do so, it then means that you must practise under the purview of the civil service rules and regulations.”

“It is pertinent that medical doctors should not see themselves as an island that can exist in isolation. In life, there is collaboration effort in all spheres of existence. If other sectors are proud as our colleagues are posturing, definitely the system will collapse and everybody including medical doctors will suffer.”

Oshinowo said it would be an oversight if they failed to recollect efforts made by the state government to assuage the doctors and ask their colleagues to go back to work while the negotiation continues.
“We equally want to say that while we are not against medical doctors, demanding a better pay, we are totally against being inconsiderate, selfish, fraudulent and disrespectful to constituted authority and embarking on actions, demeaning the Hippocratic Oath we all swore to as professionals. Avoiding deaths of patients irrespective of their socio-economic class is sacrosanct.”

He noted that medical doctors should be guided by the Hippocratic Oath and exhaust all possible avenues for negotiations and lobbying without paralysing healthcare services in its entirety and allowing for emergency services to continue.
He further stated that overseas, it was a taboo for doctors to go on strike. He recalled an instance where doctors in the United States demonstrated before the Capitol in Washington DC, all dressed in white lab coats, with their stethoscopes around their necks, over an issue but never went on strike.
He also said in the United Kingdom, there was an issue that lingered for 30 years, that would have warranted a strike by doctors, but they never embarked on strike over that. Osinowo, therefore, urged the doctors to call off the strike and return to their duty posts.

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