The Kwara Chapter of the Nigeria Medical Association has expressed worry over the recent attacks on medical personnel, especially doctors, adding that no level of negligence on the part of doctors should warrant jungle justice.
The Public Relations Officer of the association, Dr Babatunde Adewumi, told the News Agency of Nigeria on Tuesday in Ilorin that violence against medical doctors was becoming a source of concern.
NAN reports that a female doctor at Maitama District Hospital, Abuja, was on Jan. 9 beaten and stripped by relatives of a patient she was treating.
NAN also reports another incident at Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital in Nnewi in which two male doctors on call at the Special Care Baby Unit were beaten by a patient’s relatives in the wee hours of Jan. 14.
This was after the perpetrators lost a newborn baby to neonatal asphyxia in spite of adequate resuscitation by the doctors on call.
Adewumi said it was unfortunate that doctors now bear the brunt of the failure of Nigeria’s health care system, urging that Nigerian hospitals must be made to meet world-class standards to engender better services.
“The attack on medical personnel has been on for a while but recently it became more rampant; it has been taken to a whole new level and at NMA, we don’t appreciate what the public is doing.
“The public needs to understand that whatever we do in the hospital, we are fighting for them because most of the equipment is not available.
“We improvise a lot, trying to see that they get the best of health care because the government has not provided most of this equipment to the hospitals.
“But we are the ones who bear the brunt and get attacked.
”Just last week, a doctor died because there was no cannular in the hospital he was taken to after he had an accident.
“So, a lot of doctors too die on daily basis due to the failure of our health care system,” Adewumi said, stressing that doctors were working round the clock to promote the health of the people.
The NMA spokesman added that negligence was not peculiar to Nigeria and resort to violence was not a solution.
Adewumi said complaints on negligence should be channeled through the NMA or Medical Dental Council of Nigeria.
“I cannot vouch for all doctors, because it is the same way we have people in other professions neglecting their work.
“We are not in support of any doctor neglecting his or her duty, any doctor found doing so can be reported to MDCN or NMA and appropriate actions will be taken.
“Jungle justice is not the best solution and cannot be a justification for whatever negligence they think the doctor is guilty of.
“We have doctors in Nigeria now that don’t have the license to practise in Nigeria again due to negligence of duty.
“It is worthy to note that the doctors in Nigeria are overwhelmed, we have a ratio of one doctor to 5000 patients.
“Now tell me, if a doctor is seeing more than 1000 patients in a day, how effective do you want such a person to perform?
”Most doctors in Nigeria work 48 hours, 72 hours non stop and this is wrong.”