Doctors on strike – who will save the patients


We learnt as medical students that striking will always be the absolutely last option. Yet strikes have dominated the landscape of medical practice in public service in Nigeria. My entire set (like many others) lost one year of our lives to strikes. But that is nothing compared to the memorries of the frail and elderly being carried out of our hospitals in makeshift stretchers in search of private hospitals when the next strike started…or the accident and gunshot victims that died in casualty because doctors were on strike. How do we live with this?

But…on the other hand, why do our governments go into aggrements that they cannot meet? Are we doing the best we can to provide the best conditions we can as a society for our doctors to function?

STRIKES…What are the cost in lives? What is the cost in money? What is the cost in the motivation of doctors? What is the cost in confidence in the health care system?

WHY is there no public outcry? Does nobody care?

Read how it has been reported by the Nigerian press…basically as if it is the most normal thing in the world…

Leadership: CLINICAL activities at the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital (UCTH) have been grounded as the Association of Resident Doctors (ARD-UCTH) has commenced a three-day warning strike to demand for the full payment of their Consolidated Salary Structure.

Champion: Resident doctors in Nasarawa state have again embarked on an indefinite strike to press for full implementation of their demands from the state government.

Punch: The Minister of Health, Prof. Adenike Grange has ordered striking resident doctors of the Jos University Teaching Hospital to go back to work immediately.

Tribune Medical activities were on Thursday paralysed at the Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Abeokuta, Ogun State, as the Association of Resident Doctors (ARD) embarked on indefinite strike action following the refusal of the hospital management to heed to their demands.

Thisday…and in Kogi…strike has just been called off!

Vanguard: Doctors under the auspices of the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) will Friday, February 1, 2008 embark on one-day solidarity strike with its parents body, the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) over Federal Government’s inability to effect the Medical Salary Scale (MSS) being demanded by the doctors, amongst other demands. This is coming on the heels of a recent 21-day ultimatum issued by the NMA to the Federal Government to resume serious talks on the MSS.

Champion MEDICAL doctors working in Federal Government hospitals yesterday made good their threat of embarking on a seven-day partial strike for the non-restoration of their old-salary structure, even as the government has pleaded with the doctors to suspend their action.

Leadership….and everything is paralysed!

Punch but…The Federal Government and the Nigeria Medical Association have appealed to resident doctors not to embark on a nationwide strike scheduled for Friday (today).

Aluta Continua….

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

Chikwe Ihekweazu is an epidemiologist and consultant public health physician. He is the Editor of Nigeria Health Watch, and the Managing Partner of EpiAfric (, which provides expertise in public health research and advisory services, health communication and professional development. He previously held leadership roles at the South African National Institute for Communicable Diseases and the UK's Health Protection Agency. Chikwe has undertaken several short term consultancies for the World Health Organisation, mainly in response to major outbreaks. He is a TED Fellow and co-curator of TEDxEuston.

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