I often hear the ranting and proclamations of the public anytime doctors go on strike. People are generally of the opinion that doctors shouldn’t go on strike as they have chosen a career that is more of humanitarian service. Superficially, this saying isn’t far from the truth. Human lives should not be dealt with levity nor is it to be taken lightly. Doctors have been entrusted with the responsibility of taking proper and appropriate care of people who are sick or in some sort of distress. Even the great Hippocratic Oath which is usually sworn to during the induction of doctors even emphasizes the roles and significant responsibilities of doctors. But the question to be asked now centres on the reason why any doctor should want to embark on any strike at the expense of the sacred human lives at stake.

I reasoned, pondered and thought more deeply about the issue, not just as a concerned citizen of this country but also as a member of the medical profession. I tried to be objective enough and thought about the issue from both the medical doctors and the non-medical citizens of this country. Temptation to be biased and just look from the perspective of my colleagues didn’t evade me; in fact I was more obliged to just look from this perspective. But I reminded myself of the reason why a deep and more detailed explanation of these actions is to be sought out and clarified, thanks to one of my colleagues who is also a keen inquisitive atypical medical personnel. During my quest to know more about the psychology behind doctors striking and the mindset imbibed by my fellow Nigerians, I discovered that the only reason people are furious when doctors go on strike is the fact that they feel they have neglected their roles at the expense of salaries increase and other benefits. People claim that doctors, which I happen to be, are more in the field of humanitarian service (which is actually a noble thing) and should actually be charity givers. Ghen Ghen, I can see many people sitting up now trying so eager to comment and blast out their mind on the comment page, cool down, am not done yet (lol).

Yes, I agree we chose the field we are in, and we should have known and prepared for the life we’ve chosen for ourselves. No doubt, not arguing with you on that. But what I want to ask you is if humanitarian service is just the function and responsibility of doctors, or are you saying you don’t also have a role to play in the lives of people you come by everyday. Oh, you never thought of this, you better start now. Service to humanity is everyone’s responsibility and not just the work of the man in white coat. Just because the work of the man in white is in the hospital doesn’t mean you don’t have your own role to play in the lives of your neighbour, fellow workers, relatives and even strangers. When was the last time you encouraged someone who was trying to go through a certain situation alone? When was the last time you visited orphans and homeless citizens of this country? When was the last time you allowed someone who had difficulty in crossing the road to pass by waiting a little bit behind your steering? When last did you even visit the hospital to make blood donations or even money donations to those who can’t pay their hospital bills? Or you never thought this were also humanitarian services. Ogbeni, Nna, Mallam there are various humanitarian services that you come across everyday, but are you patient, caring and loving enough to actually render your own personal services. Lots of people are waiting for you and even depending on you to help them through one situation or the other.

Now back to the issue of strike or no strike, yes doctors need more reimbursements for some of their works. When you work with World Health Organisation, one of the things you get to know is that they pay you very well, not just for your profession but more importantly, for the risks you are being exposed to. Doctors are exposed to lots of occupational hazards (I’m not saying other occupations are not exposed, they are and I know that), ranging from mild exposures to mild infectious diseases to even life threatening  ones such as needle prick injury from highly infectious communicable diseases which if not careful can lead to death. I don’t want to mention certain occurrences that have led to severe consequences on the part of the health worker, this is not to stimulate or generate any form of sympathy or pity as this occupation of ours is what we have chosen and we will do it to the best of our ability. My concern and what bothers me about the strike is the fact that it is always about money and salary increase. Almost every time, it has to be about money. Not just doctors, but this also applies to people of other non-medical fields and even to the various Unions that encompasses this country from the North to the South and from the East to the west. Must we always fight for money? I am looking for the period when people from different spheres of occupation will actually wake up one day and decide they are not going to work until the government makes our road accessible and pot-hole free. I am looking for the time when people will go on strike based on the fact that our educational system is in shambles and will actually demand a reform of the educational sector in the country. I am looking for the time when Trade Unions and Labour Unions/Congress will embark on a strike and make their demands known to the government which simply and solely is that clean water should run through pipes to every house in this country. Or am I demanding too much from the government, after all they promised all this, eras to them being elected. When did our rights turn to privileges? I often hear people comparing governors and senators from different States and saying this one did road and erected street lights. You will even hear comments such as ‘ah, the man is trying sef, at least he is better than……’(I no mention name o). Ehn Ehn, before nko, what was he elected to do? Is that not his major function as an elected official?

Not to delve more into the faults and negligence of the elected officials, I want to focus more on my fellow citizens and colleagues of this country. We are so quick in raising our fists and words against politicians, an action that I don’t blame since the Ogas at the Top have made it easier for people to actually see something to talk about. What is disturbing about the part we the citizens or should I say fellow masses play in this part is one that is more of hypocrisy than concern. My dealings with my fellow Nigerians have shown so much disparity between their creeds and their deeds. We are so full of high blood pressure of creeds while being anaemic of deeds as one great orator puts. I interact with people or tend to do some transactions with people and I realise they are either trying to manipulate, cheat or even swindle me. They might call this being street smart, Oga Ade, it is plain thievery. You will see the same Nigerian who rains curses and blames on the government in a leadership position and even doing worse in that work place than the official government (true talk, as Jason Njoku will say). Don’t think I am Pro-GEJ or a PDP member, I am not. I am not affiliated with any political party and NO, I am not Wendell Simlin, I am Femi Balogun. I see some actions and behaviours people do even while driving and I just but marvel at the hypocrisy we exhibit. I think before any man can judge any individual (which you shouldn’t even do except you are very close), we should ensure to be a better person.

Balogun Femi

@Balogs5 (twitter handle)


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