Doctors , Are They Really Competent to go on Strike & Demand Higher Pay ?


“It’s a bad workman that blames his tool” a saying that my late dad used to use on us and he keeps emphasising on the need to be highly professional in anything that we lay out hands on. Can this be said of the Nigerian medical facilities and practitioners that keeps going on strikes as if they are coal miners or railway workers. Nigerians are getting tired of the series of strikes by the  medical practitioners and lectures and calling them bluffs should be the only sensible  thing to do. Ministry of health has been manned by doctors right from time immemorial and we should take an inventory of what they have done in terms of alleviating the plight of health workers,but that doesn’t mean that these doctors would hold the nation at the jugular, beside that, a lot of them have demonstrated many signs of incompetency!  Some have said that their energies should be channels to areas like self cleansing and evaluation of their members not these strikes !

Let’s face it, in Nigeria today, those that we expects to always be on strikes are the likes  the railway workers, the police, the prison service personnel. But they  don’t go on strike! As we used to see with the lecturers and doctors ! When   you consider the conditions of these police, warders etc  services and tools, their  level of pay they get and when place this  side by side with the doctors and lecturers. You will understand  that doctors are pampered. Are these set of people work not vital? their work is also important. Have you imagined the police or the prison service people going on strikes? Criminals will run amok and have a field day, but they don’t and can’t! Not that they have the most fantastic pay or their work conditions superb! No, they just chose not to and follow the path of reason .

These medical practitioners start enjoying exclusive pay right from “infancy” doing absolutely nothing. They even  have this animosity even amongst themselves such as the animosity between the doctors and physiotherapists or that if the doctors and the opticians…majority or most of these incompetent doctors claim that apart from them and the dentist , none of the afore mentioned group should be called doctor. To them ,the word “doctor ” is the holy Grail and should only be used on them not anybody that treats .  According to Wikipedia, it defines the word doctor as “A physicianmedical practitionermedical doctor, or simply doctor is a professional who practises medicine, which is concerned with promoting, maintaining, or restoring healththrough the study, diagnosis, and treatment of diseaseinjury, and other physical and mental impairments”.

I and my fellow  laymen would call optician, physiotherapists and any man that treats us doctors. So ,we won’t and and  don’t care if you guys likes it or not. We go with the global definition of doctor..go and  demonstrate competency ! That’s all we are asking.

By the way, these opticians, physios are more competent to me. You rarely hear that Nigerians travel out for eye surgery or physiotherapy session but due to medical incompetence of doctors ,women, still die of child birth in Nigeria today. Travelling for treatment ,even if it’s ear treatment is a common place. This is to demonstrate how low they have fallen .

In medical world, it’s a different kettle of fish, life used to be sacrosanct but not anymore . If you have been chanced   to be in any of the Federal medical establishment , you will have a clearer and obtuse  picture how human lives and dignity are  treated . In a country that the medical personnel will not treat an emergency case based on some stupid reasons such as not having some lousy hospital cards or not making any initial deposit or no doctor is on duty or call. They must have gone to their private practise. Oh, don’t be in that position, because many have died because of  such and a lot of examples abound.

Calls, are luxury, in the hospitals, doctors are seen as demi gods with their air of importance and incompetency. Having mis diagnosed many cases and many people lost their lives. I could remember experiences that I had in hands of these people.

When my wife had our baby, she was so talked down by the nurses ,the theatre so unkempt, she was talked to in a way that makes one wonder if it’s a crime to be pregnant and doctors as supervisor would stand and watch nurses talk down on a woman in a labour ! How many nurses have we heard that was fired because of talking down on pregnant or labouring women ? None ,to me . Words like “When you were enjoying your sex,didn’t you know labour will be painful ”  and one other derogatory words used by these nurses.

When my wife had a miscarriage,she was in a hospital for 10 days, she wasn’t bleeding , she was spotting, she lay on hospital bed and the doctors was just observing the woman and she was three months pregnant…the doctor that handled her cases started going pastoral. He said we should be praying ..for 10 good days and this is a medical facility and he calls himself a gynecologist! She lost the baby after 10 days and the incompetent gave us the bill and I wrote a cheque paying for that. I won’t want to discuss how mum died of cancer because at the very early and  initial stage of the disease , the doctor misdiagnosed her! Let bygone be bygone but are bygones, bygone ?

My sister lost twins based on poor management of foetus in a hospital by doctor…wanted to sue, the medical facilities hid the file. Given wrong medication and caused the lost of a baby ,the baby died in her womb! She was on admission,the tertiary medical centre couldn’t even know that a baby died in her womb after 4 working days! This is to show you how low the Nigerian medical practise have fallen. Mind you, we still have great doctors, there must be a sort of re evaluation and cleansing in the medical space, that should be the none of contention not the issue of pay. Confidence has nose dived and Nigerians are seeking medical help overseas and elsewhere

With a lot of issues, Nigerians are calling medical practitioners bluff! Those that have the means go abroad for treatment, even if it’s Ghana ! Those that don’t have the means resort to online. Google is always handy and with the advancement in electronic  health and advancement of technology. Today, many Nigerians patronise online medical practise and consult some doctors via online video channels, software and other basic medical tools are becoming cheaper and diagnosis of any ailment by these software and tools more accurate and human errors associated with diagnosis eliminated. They come cheaper and non medical practitioners can administer it. Technology is replacing the need to consult medical practitioners, sooner, Artificial Intelligence will be deployed in medical world , maybe they are doing that now. Another stage of Nigerians have taken solace in herbal tea and mixtures, to this set, they believe so much in traditional medicine and this have put them on a collision course with the doctors.

Sometimes, you don’t blame them, the stress, cost and troubles of going to an average Nigerian hospital is better imagined than experienced. God help you if your wife is pregnant. Other Nigerians will go spiritual ! And the medical workers  aren’t doing anything to help this malady. We keep hearing stories and industrial actions. Their industrial action is nauseating us. People are finding other options and technology is providing these options for us. Options from Google,Artificial Intelligence and non medical practitioners coming to bridge the gap Nigerian doctors have created with top notch medical diagnosing equipment that are cheap with less human errors . That is the only choice most Nigerians have, not that it’s always right to do that ,it is great to have a doctor by your side but the cost of medical practise is high and their mistake is scary.

According to Daniela Hernandez, a technology writer, she opined that “computers certainly can’t replace doctors at the bedside. But today’s machines are capable of crunching vast amounts of data and identifying patterns that humans can’t” she concluded .

“Technology seems poised to affect medicine just as it’s affecting many other previously automation-proof professions: It will first break the meta-job of doctor down into individual sub-jobs and slowly computerize everything that doesn’t involve physical labor. This will necessarily make specialists in the remaining physical tasks less elite, and de-emphasize their difficulty and lowering compensation “, said Graham Templeton.

With the strikes and industry action by these doctors , one wonders why the always ask for higher pay when they receive more salary than other workers and those in public medical facilities run their private hospital. Right from the NYSC days, their allowance are three times more than the regular corp members, their job pays more The the regular core members. Some of their incompetency has made Nigerians to seek medical help abroad, not because of equipment. They can still perform wonders without that! Only if they are content with their jobs, but as it seems now, they are more interested in having their salaries reviews rather than having the plight of their patients in their heart. When was the last time medical workers ,especially the doctors went in a strike in Togo, Benin republic or Ghana and let’s compare it with that of Nigeria and know whom we are to blame. I think, if a doctor isn’t comfortable with the pay or the work environment of the hospital! He should just leave and resign  ,that would register a displeasure rather than constituting nuisance to the public .

Anthony Emeka Nwosu

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