The Nigeria Medical Association, NMA, on Wednesday decried the ongoing strike by public sector health workers, describing it as unjust.
The Deputy Secretary of the association, Lagos state Chapter, Peter Ogunnunbi, said in Lagos that the strike was driven by rivalry with medical doctors.
He said that the strike was not in the best interest of Nigerians, accusing them of promoting anarchy and state of disorderliness in the health sector which could degenerate into quackery.
Mr. Ogunnubi, who is also a psychiatrist at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, LUTH, said: “Their (JOHESU) strike is illegal and they have no moral right and no cause to go on strike.
“Their action can only be described as biased, unjust and not serving anybody’s interest, but theirs.
“The health workers are unashamedly contesting for equality with the medical doctors.
“Their self-centred demands obviously discourage international best practices, professionalism and patient self-centred care in the health sector.
“With their self-serving demands, quackery is going to be the order in the health sector and you will be unable to distinguish between doctors and support health staff.”
Mr. Ogunnubi then appealed to the striking health workers to imbibe the international best practices and allow common sense to prevail for the common good.
“Healthcare delivery is critical to the well-being of any society and with this understanding JOHESU should put the interest of Nigerians topmost in their demands.
“However, the health workers should know that they can’t cripple the hospitals; doctors are whom patients go to see in the hospitals.
“Anywhere in the world, without doctors, there is no hospital,” he said.
Mr. Ogunnubi said since the commencement of the strike, the doctors had remained at their duty posts to ensure uninterrupted quality healthcare delivery to Nigerians.
He urged them to embrace the recommendations made by the Presidential Committee of Experts headed by Alhaji Yayale Ahmed on Inter-Professional Relationship in the Public Health Sector.
“The recommendations of this committee is to promote best international practices and should be embraced by all.
“It will be a waste of tax payers’ money, if the health workers can shamelessly reject the report they helped drafted,” he said.
But Kehinde Adegoke, the Chairman, Senior Staff Association of Universities Teaching Hospitals, Research and Allied Institution, SSAUTHRAI, decried the claim that their demands were self-serving.
“The Yayale Ahmed recommendation is lopsided to favour one side of the profession in the health sector more than others.
“It was a report we clamoured for, but we were disappointed when we saw the report.
“We are rejecting the recommendations because we can see clearly that everything has been upturned by the committee members and serve the interest of the doctors only,” Mr. Adegoke said.
He said peace will reign in the health sector, if doctors can stop treating other professionals in the sector as second class citizens.
“There is no peace in the health sector because of lack of team spirit and the doctors refused to work with us as team members.
“It is not the generic right of any professional group to claim perpetual leadership.
“Any professional who claims he is able to deliver health service alone is a quack, because western medicine is a team work and the focus of the team is the patient.
“Since medical doctors started administering hospitals, they interpret circulars purely to favour their interest; that is injustice,” he said.
The Joint Health Sector Union, JOHESU, is the umbrella body for non-doctors and allied health professionals.
The union had on November 12, 2014, embarked on indefinite strike to press home their demands including non-implementation of welfare agreement with the Federal Government.
Other demands are recognition of health workers as consultants within the hospital, promotion of officers and increase in retirement age of health workers from 60 to 65 years.