The Trade Union Congress (TUC) of Nigeria has flayed Federal Government’s recommendation of casual doctors to temporarily stand in for members of the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD), who are currently on strike.
In a statement made available yesterday, the congress considered the statement credited to the Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, as reckless, unguided and unexpected of a minister of any republic.
Barely 48 hours after the medical personnel embarked on the strike, the minister directed all chief medical directors and medical directors of federal hospitals to immediately engage the services of casual doctors, National Youth Service Corps doctors and medical doctors on internship to augment the services of consultants pending the resolution of the ongoing strike.
According to TUC President, Bobboi Kaigama, “the congress feels sad that at a time when nations are building strong health sectors, ‘the giant of Africa’ sees engagement of casual workers as recipe to the challenge of the health sector. The best of Nigerian doctors are abroad doing great; in fact, they treat our politicians who seek medical help abroad. And do you know what?
“They left this country because of some of the issues that led to the present strike. In other climes, issues that bother on health are not treated with kid gloves, because lives are involved. But the reverse is the case here.
“Asking consultants to work overtime while negotiations continue with the National Association of Resident Doctors is dangerous because we are talking about human life. Overtime? Are they factory workers? How do you persuade a medical doctor that is fagged out to perform a surgery?
“We are going through enough pains already, trading lives for government’s complacency is most unreasonable. The minister should realise that the hospitals they patronise abroad are not manned by casual doctors.
“We are surprised that a university professor and medical doctor will recommend such. How the world of politics can make human mind cruel! The same minister played a positive role during the military regime. Amazingly awful! How time changes.
“We call on the presidency to ignore the quick solution of the minister. If government must do as prescribed by the minister, then it should also employ casual state officials such as ministers and special aides. It will really help us to save enough money for their own use. Indeed, our country has become a joke in the comity of nations because of statements of this nature that lack intellectual enterprise.”