Editorials

Nigerian Medical Doctors Are Pompous And Uncivilized

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Obadiah Umaru writes:

The last time went on strike, Nigerians from all works of life pressed on government to look into their issues so that our hospitals will continue to offer services to Nigerians.

Today, the hospitals are again shut down due to JOHESU strike and unthinkably, NMA have been the most vocal, not in to quell the impasse but to fuel it. They are insisting that government should not listen to, or meet the demands of, JOHESU. Their reason for the meddlesomeness in the many press releases and media engagement is to keep wide the gap of earned allowance between them and other health professionals. This is selfishness and greed.

I ceased to regard any medical doctor since I took my ailing mother to the hospital in the early 2009 and got disgusting and irresponsible treat from a consultant. He attended to my mum then wrote drugs for us to buy. I asked what he was treating, he said he was suspecting septicemia so we should try so and so antibiotics. I told him it sounds like guesswork. He kept quiet. I requested if we could be sure of what were are treating, he picked offence and started shouting. Demanding to know if I wanted to teach him his work. I said I was the customer/client here and I should be the king. He said the only king in the hospital is the doctor. He was a young man so I thought it was untamed exuberance. While I was on the matter, a nurse came and overheard us, inadvertently, she asked if we has done lab test. The aggression with which the consultant shouted her down was marvelling. I wondered for a minute if it was his private hospital but I knew I was in a public hospital where all were employees of government. I asked why he addressed his colleague in that manner but he told me that the nurses and pharmacists were subservient to him. He told me how much he was earning and how much pharmacists earned, using it to justify his status. I was shocked.

I switched back to the prescription he had written and asked if we could be sent to the lab, he opposed it,saying that the most arrogant people in the hospital were the lab people. I asked how, he said, they have arrogated a title of scientists to themselves and don’t want to work under pathologists. I was shocked as what that got to do with my mum’s lab test.

Within my 10min of being with him, he had skinned the nurses, the pharmacy and the lab alive. Then I knew the doctors were the real problems.

In summary, he insisted on treating without lab test. I was angry and left also without his prescription. I took my mum to a private laboratory and explained my situation. The lab tests showed leukemia and my elder brother in UK had to arrange for mum to undergo treatment abroad.

Since then, I have followed keenly the disregard end humiliation that the doctors treat other health workers in Nigeria with the passive support of health ministers and commissioners. They often go the side of NMA during industrial disputes by quickly responding to demands of doctors and speaking English on demands others health workers.

I think the duration of study for doctors is only one year extra to pharmacists, lab scientists etc, yet they earn two times more than the non-doctors upon entering public service. Why is this so? Only doctors are heading hospitals and ministries of health in Nigeria. Why? This is not the case in other countries on Europe and Asia. Even the current DG of WHO is not a medical doctor. Where did the Nigerian medical doctor got his ego from to hold other health professionals in perpetual captivity? I call on JOHESU to break these ancient chains of slavery and emancipate themselves and our health system in Nigeria. The health system under ineptitude of medical doctors keeps recording abysmal indices year in year out to the extent that our President cannot find one health facility to treat ordinary ear infection.

I urge President Buhari to immediately sack the minister of health in view of his recent irresponsible comments on this ongoing strike. It is a pitiable anticlimax in our civilization.

Lastly, the curriculum of MBBS should be reviewed to include civic education for would-be medical doctors in Nigeria. Their incivility is the cause of industrial unrest in the health system in Nigeria today

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