Doctors’ President Yet To Convince Us

              GARD President Ebrima Bah!

After listening to the President of Gambia Association of Resident Doctors (GARD) the “The CheckPoint” show, one can easily draw the conclusion that if anyone were to resign from their position it should be without a doubt Ebrima Bah. The said interview was a complete disaster. Mr. Bah did his very best to convince many of us that the doctors’ unjustifiable sit-down is worth doing. Unfortunately, he has failed to sway our rational judgment. We know the Truth when we see it. When asked whether Mr. Bah and his Association sought legal advice prior to the so-called strike, Dr. Bah circumvented the question. When pushed to the wall, Mr. he had no choice but to answer in the negative, and to make things even worse, he has the audacity to believe that the legal advice doesn’t matter before or after the strike. The reason to that question is simple: did our doctors have the right to go on strike and risk the lives of innocent patients on the pretext that they have been defamed. It is either the doctors misunderstood the context of the minister’s speech or the speech has been deliberately distorted to create havoc in the health system.

Can you imagine the consequence of having all the doctors in the whole country to be on sit-down or strike? Bah implied that as long as you are a Gambian doctor, you are part of the sit-down. These are the words of Mr. Ebrima Bah. What does this really mean? It simply means that as a Gambian doctor, you have no choice but to join the sit-down even though you disagree with the Resident Doctor’s Association. Mr. Bah went on to say all native Gambian doctors home and abroad are members of the Gambia Resident Doctors Association.

Therefore, everyone is on strike. The question that came to mind is this, is this behaviour compatible with democratic principles and freedom of association? As a doctor and for that matter any civil servant one shouldn’t be forced to join an organization if one doesn’t find it necessary. This has to be one’s freedom of choice. Had that been the case we would today have some doctors going to work as usual without expecting repercussion. It is fatal for our nation that all doctors are forced to be members of GARD because that makes our health sector very vulnerable, especially in case of a major disaster. Imagine taking the entire country’s doctors both home and abroad on a sit-downstrike is characterised as dubious. This could only happen in the Gambia and the doctors get away with it.

Mr. Ebrima Bah claim that they made three simple demands. This includes an apology from the Minister of Health Mrs. Saffie Lowe. The minister’s many apologies came reluctantly in writings after few days. But Mr. Bah is now saying that is not the kind of an apology they want. from the minister is not an apology. Then came the contradiction when asked by the interviewer, Mr. Abdoulie Sey that, if the minister comes with a new apology that fits the description of Mr. Ebrima Bah’s apology would that be the endgame. Mr. Bah replied NO. That sounds very belligerent. Mr. Sey made it clear to Mr. Bah that in any given negotiation it is always give and take, which Mr. Bah fails to grasp. It is clear that they want it their way or no way. Period. Each and everyone of the three demands of Mr. Bah and his group of Resident Doctors have to be met otherwise the sit-down will not. Mr. Bah seems to be unfamiliar with negation skills. If someone were to resign from any post it should clearly be Mr. Ebrima Bah for failing to carry out his duties to his nation and members.

To sum up Mr. Bah and his Gambia Resident Doctors’ endgame is not for a better healthcare for the patients as he claimed, but instead to get rid of Minister Lowe no matter what. This demand belongs to the dustbin and the government should not entertain it. Mr. Bah claimed that there is poor leadership in the ministry of health, and one wonders when did Mr. Bah and his association realize that. Is it a year ago or six months ago? To proof Mr. Bah is wrong there is no demand whatsoever for better healthcare in all the three demands he mentioned.

The three demands are as follows:

1 A retraction of the statement of the Minister of health Mrs Saffie Lowe. (No better healthcare demand)
2 A new apology in the description of Mr. Ebrima Bah from the minister of health. That description is one’s guess. Mr. Bah didn’t elaborate on that. (No better healthcare demand)
3 The resignation of the minister of health. (Again no better healthcare demand).

Now, can anyone explain to Gambian patients where in these three demands, the president of the Gambia Resident Doctor’s Association mentions a better healthcare for them? The whole fuss is nothing more than a personal vendetta against our minister of who defies all odds and say what others whisper. Who is then trapped in this whole quagmire? It is our women, our children and of course poor Gambians. SHAME!

Alhagi Touray


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