Senate laments doctors’ strike, faults PTF conversion to PSC
The Senate Committee on Health has condemned the ongoing nationwide strike by resident doctors in the country.
The committee said it was surprising that the doctors, under the umbrella body of the National Association of Resident Doctors, embarked on strike despite the marathon meeting it had with them prior to the Easter break.
The panel said the ongoing strike is a violation of the ethics of medicine and the Hippocratic oath.
Chairman of the Senate panel, Yahaya Oloriegbe, stated these during a public hearing on a bill seeking to establish a Federal Medical Centre in Mubi, Adamawa State.
He noted that as professionals, doctors are expected to prioritise saving lives over other considerations.
He said that the blood of any patient that loses his or her life during the strike would be on the heads of the doctors.
Oloriegbe said, “I want to put on record that as a National Assembly we made efforts to avert the doctors going on strike.
“We had a marathon meeting just before Easter on March 21st specifically and we agreed on all the issues that were raised by the resident doctors.
“So we are surprised that the Resident Doctors went on strike. However, we are not reneging.
“My counterparts in the House of Representatives are meeting with the Resident Doctors.
“I want to use this opportunity to appeal to them to go back (to work). Like I said, any single soul that dies as a result of that strike, is on the heads of the doctors.
“I am a doctor myself. We took an oath to serve and save a life. In no circumstance should we through our action endanger any life to be lost due to our personal interests?
“We know as doctors we have to take care of our welfare but we have taken an oath to serve.
“I’m appealing to them that we should go back to work while negotiations and discussions will go on on outstanding issues.”
The committee also said the Presidency should have consulted the National Assembly before converting the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19 to the Presidential Steering Committee.
Oloriegbe said, “I was listening to the radio yesterday (Wednesday) and I heard that the PTF (on COVID-19) has been converted to a steering committee.
“We were not consulted in terms of what will be the operational mechanism and so on.
“I am just trying to say I will have my Clerk invite the Permanent Secretary (Ministry of Health), to come and explain to us the process of that response because we represent Nigeria.
“What is the content of that conversion? How will the steering committee work? We were not consulted but we don’t mind but as part of our oversight we will come back and ask you.”
The Permanent Secretary, Abdulaziz Abdullahi, who represented the Minister of Health, promised that the ministry would take cognizance of the comments raised by the panel.
He said, “I don’t have much to say rather than to tell this Committee that all you have said is duly noted by the Ministry.
“On the issue of consultation, in fact, this public hearing is one of the consultations.
“I want to assure you that all these comments have been noted and we will take them back to the Ministry and we will get back to you.”