As a liberal democratic thinker, I believe in collective bargaining to resolve differences. Our sit down striking doctors threatening the health and the well being of patients because of what Hon. Minister Lowe had said is act of abandonment, terror and disloyalty and should have no place in civilized society. Doctors are looked upon as professionals with compassion for human life, and striking is a display of just the opposite. They got it totally wrong to use patient’s lives as a bargaining power because is unethical and a violation of social contract between doctors and patients relation in the health care profession. I considered their action as irresponsible and dangerous not only to the patients in hospitals but to the health of the people of the entire nation. Can you imagine how many patients died in our hospitals from the start of the strike to date and how many more will die because of not being present at work to care for the sick. A doctor’s job is sacred because they safe lives and is beyond the stupid politic being played under our eyes.
I have listened to what the minister had said and it doesn’t justify a sit down strike action by the doctors. I could understand if they had strike for reasons like pay increase, lack of drugs and other essentials, and work safety in health delivery system thus inhibiting their performance at the detriment of their patients. Since the doctors are convinced that what their had said is a false allegation, the best option of action is to take her to court to substantiate what she has said. I don’t think if they have really thought of the repercussions of their action. Their leaders must be doomed.
From the analysis of the situation I will not hesitate to point fingers at the below outline reasons for the sit down strike of the doctors:
(1) Some senior doctors must be jealous of the minister appointment by Adama Barrow, because they feel that they are more knowledgeable and experienced than her.
(2) They are using the sit down strike as a mean to sabotage the president’s decision of appointing the said minister, as well to portray his regime as a failure to validate the views and assertions of his political enemies.
(3) They are testing the degree of government’s vulnerability as to what extent will it react to their strike action hence the teachers did it and they got what they demanded, so should they too.
(4) The minister said the truth about the corruption of doctors, thus putting them under the spotlight and every citizen will be watching out their business dealings which is a big worry for them.
(5) The strike is influenced by recent actions and commotions staged by the so called amateur civil society organizations and advocates.
We are loosing lives because of the stupid strike action of the doctors and I don’t think our government is doing enough in humble opinion to bring the saga to a halt. Do you think the apology from the minister is enough or the strike is a problem of the ministry of health alone? Because I am not seeing much efforts coming from other perspectives of government. If our government is failing to bring the leadership of striking doctors to the negotiation table, then punitive measures must be pursued for the perpetuators to dearly regret for their actions. The following immediate, medium and long term strategic actions can be pursued by our government to punish the doctors and same time mitigating the gravity of the problem.
(1) Quickly involve our regional and sub regional bodies like ECOWAS and AU to resolve the problem hence our government has failed so far.
(2)Through foreign services ministry, government make an emergency plea to get doctors from our good friends like Senegal, Ghana, Nigeria, Turkey, and even China etc.
(3) Sue all striking doctors to court for their unpardonable sin of leaving their patients to die by not going to work when majority of them, if not all, their studies were financed with tax payers monies. The strike is a crime against humanity in itself and it should be punishable by sending doctors to spend lengthy time in jail. The jungle law implies that you “ take an eye for an eye”.
(4) Close with the immediate all medical and non medical businesses of the sit down striking doctors.
(5) Audit their books and those found using government drugs and equipment be jailed and never practice medicine in The Gambia forever.
(6) Comprehensive review of current certification process to own and operate a pharmacy. If nurse aides, community health nurses, hospital cleaners and security guards owned and operate drug stores, then something is not correct in our health delivery system. I believe it is only in The Gambia where you will see just a thing happening on earth.
Our government need to step up to the daily realities and prepare herself for more like this type of nuisances, because this is just the beginning. Barrow’s government is been tested and its weaknesses spotted. What the striking doctors don’t bother to care is that they are not hurting the minister neither the president but their own innocent citizens. The president is away on mission in Kigali and your minister goes to work every day. So how are they hurting them? You tell me.
Strike breeds a culture of of anger and bring out the worst in people. There are better ways to resolve the problem through meaningful dialogue and doctors go back to work and help patients on their dying beds. Doctors are very important, our society needs you because you save lives, is like no other profession. My recommendations may be harsh and difficult peels to swallow but it can be avoided if the doctors call off the sit down strike.
Please share the article to reach wider audiences and readership especially our decision-makers including the office of the President. By Lang Barrow