By Oluwafunke Ishola
Lagos, July 14, 2020 The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) has appealed to Lagos State Government to speedily and holistically address the demands of the striking doctors, under the aegis of Medical Guild.
The NMA made the appeal in a statement jointly signed by Dr Adenekan Adetunji and Dr Ramon Moronkola, the Lagos State Chairman and Secretary of the association respectively.
The NMA leaders said that this was to prevent avoidable escalation of the issue.
Adetunji and Moronkola had closely monitored the developments surrounding the ongoing industrial dispute between Lagos State employed doctors, under the auspices of the Medical Guild and the state government.
“We are aware of the extension of the ultimatum set by the Medical Guild for the LASG to address its demands.
“Indeed, we were optimistic that the window would be explored by both parties to critically and dispassionately address the demands of the Medical Guild.
“Sadly, that was not the case,” the NMA leaders said.
They noted that the Guild had on Monday declared a three-day warning strike after what appeared to be an unwillingness of the state government to address its demands.
“It is, however, curious that the same strike elicited a rather robust response from the LASG in the form of a press release.
“Why was the two weeks window not explored for robust engagements with the Medical Guild in order to avert this avoidable disruption of the healthcare system in the state?
“While the efforts of LASG in responding to the demands of the press release are noteworthy, the use of unflattering language in the said release betrays an intention to antagonise rather than seek to dialogue with the Medical Guild.
“Words are powerful which makes the careful use of it imperative,” the NMA leaders said.
They expressed optimism that both parties would go back to negotiation table under an atmosphere of mutual respect and goodwill.
“The hitherto goodwill enjoyed by the LASG among its doctors was seriously damaged by reports of the unceremonious disengagement of doctors working in isolation centres and their summary eviction from their hotel accommodation.
“This was done without thoughts to the danger they might constitute to their loved ones, if they returned home without being properly screened for COVID-19.
“This is just one of the several grievances of the Medical Guild,” the NMA leaders said.
They affirmed to the state government that the Medical Guild was an affiliate of the NMA, thus entitled to and had been reassured of the support of NMA.
“While we do not wish for an escalation of the ongoing dispute in order not to jeopardise the healthcare of Lagos people, we however, have, as stated above, obligations to the Medical Guild,” NMA leaders said.
NAN recalled that doctors under the aegis of the Medical Guild had on July 13 commenced a three-day warning strike that would end on July 16 over issues that affects their safety and welfare.
The Guild, however, exempts its members working in the state’s COVID-19 isolation centres from the strike.