Wednesday, January 18, 2012

To protest, or not to protest - a doctor's dilemma

Nigerian Health Watch
17 January 2012

The protests on the withdrawal of petrol subsidies in Nigeria has provided doctors with an ethical dilemma. Do they join the protests on the petrol subsidy removal and "close shop", or stay in their clinics and hospitals since the service they provide is  an essential one? In many cases, this is a rhetorical question as even when healthcare professionals intend to get to work – this is not an easy feat – especially in areas where the protests have been most intensive, as has been the case in Lagos, Kano, and Kaduna. Unless ofcourse one lived within the hospital premises.

The Nigerian press reported that both the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) and Eko Hospital, Lagos, two of the largest providers of healthcare in Lagos have been rendering only skeletal services since the beginning of the protests. Suleja General Hospital, Niger State discharged all the patients on admission at the hospital as they  claimed that hospital workers had deserted their duty posts to participate in the protests. In Lagos, hundreds of doctors were said to be ‘on ground’ at the epicentre of the demonstrations at the Gani Fawehinmi Memorial Park in Ojota to provide immediate medical attention to protesters who sustained injuries during the protests. 

The professional associations have also been at a loss regarding how to respond, trying hard to stay on the side of the people.

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