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Lagos Doctors: A strike too many - Daily Independent

By The Citizen
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It is in the interest of the health sector in the state and indeed, numerous helpless patients in Lagos hospitals, for Lagos state government and the striking doctors to resolve this logjam.

The ongoing indefinite strike action by Lagos State doctors under the aegis of Lagos Medical Guild is, indeed, breath-taking and condemnable as the development has thrown up more questions than answers, even as patients in Lagos state hospitals are, once more, thrown into another round of medical darkness.

It will be recalled that this is not the first time that doctors in the State would be embarking on a prolonged strike action. In fact, the doctors had at various times embarked on strikes in 2011, 2012 and 2014 demanding improvement on their conditions of service and remuneration. It is important to state that the Lagos State government had in 2012 and 2014 applied its 'no work no pay' policy on the striking doctors which culminated into the unpaid salary arrears; for which the doctors now have embarked on this new strike.

Instructively, the incessant strikes by the doctors have always resonated on patients in the state government- owned hospitals where medical needs of patients are sacrificed on the altar of strikes. Many patients who could afford it have always been transferred to private hospitals while those who are not adequately blessed with financial resources are left to their fate. Most times patients have been reported dead as a result of the doctors' strike.

It is important for the striking Lagos state doctors to understand that their profession is an all important one. As such they must always be in touch and be faithful to the Hippocratic oath, which primarily is to save lives.

This Newspaper believes that all parties to this strike saga must sheath their swords and give peaceful negotiation a chance. Although, industrial actions are known all over the world as an alternative to dialogue or negotiation as being employed by various labour unions to drive home their demands, when it becomes superfluous, then it is preposterous and does not bode well for the socio-economic development of the country.

Therefore, it is in the interest of the health sector in the state and indeed, numerous helpless patients in Lagos hospitals, for Lagos state government and the striking doctors to resolve this logjam. The state government needs to critically examine the demands of the striking doctors on their unpaid salaries since they were not, altogether, laid off at the time of the strike actions. The members of the Lagos Medical Guild on the other hand and by extension the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) that intends to embark on a solidarity strike must learn to embrace industrial peace and harmony in the interest of patients, Lagos state and, indeed, the nation.