THE Civil Liberties Organization (CLO) has lent his voice to the growing pleas to striking resident doctors to return to work and save the nation from the COVID-19 pandemic and other diseases.
The Chairman of the Anambra State chapter of CLO, Mr Vincent Ezekwueme, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Enugu on Thursday that the impact of the nationwide strike by the National Association of Resident Doctors of Nigeria (NARD) is huge.
On Tuesday in Warri, the Chief Medical Director of Central Hospital, Warri, Dr Paul Okunbor, appealed to the doctors to shelve the strike.
Okunbor also appealed to government to do the needful by implementing the demands of the aggrieved doctors.
Ezekwueme noted that other closely related diseases the country was battling included Lassa fever, typhoid and malaria.
He said: “I most passionately appeal to our distinguished and respected striking medical doctors to remember their Hippocratic Oath to save and protect the lives of hapless patients and humanity.
“Government at all levels should engage them in sincere dialogue and negotiations to ensure industrial harmony and peace.
“Significantly, payment for their agreed hazard allowances and other entitlements will motivate and encourage them to urgently resume their very sensitive work.”
The activist noted that it was unbelievable that some Nigerians still do not accept that coronavirus is real and the COVID-19 pandemic a reality in Nigeria and pointed out that enlightened Nigerians are be in a better position to educate the doubting public.
He added: “It is of great relevance to note that COVID-19 is the greatest threat and enemy of humanity.
“The health challenges posed by the pandemic calls for a marshal plan by government, medical experts, civil society organisations and citizenry.
“It will be very unfortunate and pathetic if the virus is not controlled, because the future just like the present will be very bleak and regrettable.”
NARD, on June 15 embarked on a nationwide indefinite strike to press demands over improved working condition.
The association had earlier given the Federal Government two weeks ultimatum to implement their agreements or face indefinite showdown.
The doctors are asking for universal implementation of the Medical Residency Training Act in all federal and state hospitals.
Their other demands include the provision of funding of medical residency training in the 2021 Appropriation Bill, implementation of the revised hazard and payment of agreed COVID-19 inducement allowances.
They also bemoaned the lack of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for their members treating COVID-19 patients, and the resultant deaths of doctors.
Describing the demands of the resident doctors as genuine, the CMD said, “the doctors have the right to make the demands, especially when the issues are in the front burner and government is expected to have addressed them.
“However, the timing is not good because we are dealing with a pandemic. We need all hands on deck, including critical stakeholders like the resident doctors, who are in the frontlines to deal with COVID-19.”