Doctors employed by the Lagos State Government have been on strike. Subsequently 788 of them were sacked by the Lagos State Government, then recalled, now they have refused to go back to work until the recall is put in writing. In all the articles written about the strike, sack, recall one thing has been extremely disturbing. The almost complete lack of empathy about the fate of the patients. This refers to those in support of the doctors, and those in support of the government – there appears to be a cold bloodied disregard for the fate of the hopeless poor that have no other place to go to than public sector hospitals in Lagos State. The fate of the patients has hardly come up in all the discussions…how could it have come to this?
Why have we hardened our hearts so? Is it because we cannot imagine ourselves in the place of the patients served by the the public sector in Lagos? Maybe because they are poor? Is it because they do not have access to influence ? They do not tweet…they do not write. They do not call into radio talk shows. Even when they have the opportunity to vote, it is taken away from them. We take it away from them….
Both the governor and the doctors took oaths. Oaths to serve the people, to put their interests first – the doctors swore – above all things to do no harm. To do now harm!
After the oath ….they asked “so help me God!”
And the people’s voice? We have been blunted by the struggles of daily life, hoping not to to fall ill. When we do – we hope that our local ‘chemist’ store will be able to provide a remedy. If the health issue appears serious, we reach out to our brethren to support the charges of the private hospitals, where the quality of care, we have no clue about. We pray hard – that at least we can do, we are very good at prayers. We have some of the greatest prayer warriors on earth. So we pray very hard – and pay out tithes religiously….hoping for a miracle.
As you read this, we are mourning our dead from the Dana plane crash in Lagos. The plane crash did not discriminate – men, women, husbands, fathers, wives, mothers, children, rich, not so rich. May their souls rest in peace. It is no comfort to them – but we will remember them. We recognised many of the names as the news broke on Sunday night….They are like us reading this blog. But you will not find many of those that rely on the public health care system in Lagos State on that Dana flight. Those that have died in Lagos State as a result of the strikes are unknown, unseen, unheard; plane loads of them. No tweets with their names, no pictures on facebook, no hysteria, no public crying, no 3 days of national mourning, no investigation, no hospital to hold accountable nothing……nothing….. just their poor families left to mourn them.
So …what if there were survivors from the Dana plane crash…..which hospital would we have taken them to? And the injured on the ground….they live in Iju Agege! Where do we think they get their healthcare from? Oh Nigeria …what happened to us? What happened to us?
It is time for us to admit that our leaders and politicians are a reflection of us. As we change, so do they. Not the other way. – Francis Daniels
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed people can change the world; indeed it is the only thing that ever has…Margaret Mead