Medical Association appeals for more security cover for members

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Abuja.

The Nigeria Medical Association, Federal Capital Territory (NMA-FCT) has appealed to the relevant government agencies to provide more security for the safety of its members.

Dr Charles Ugwuanyi, Chairman, NMA-FCT, made the appeal while speaking after a thanksgiving outing to kick-Start the 2023 Physician Week, celebrated annually in October.

The chairman spoke on the backdrop of the recent backlash on doctors, on alleged negligence of duty at their work places, arising from an alleged death of “one chance” victim in Abuja recently.

He said that the incident had brought so many attacks on doctors while calling on relevant government authorities, particularly security organisations, to provide more protection for members of NMA.

He said that the incident had subjected Nigeria medical doctors in the FCT to various forms of violence ranging from physical to emotional abuse.

“So much is expected from the Nigerian doctor but very little is given to them, therefore, we operate in a very hostile environment, it seems like any unfortunate incident on public institution is always blamed on the doctors.

“As you are aware recently, there has been some unpleasant news which has gone very viral in one of our hospitals here in the FCT, where a doctor has been alleged to have refused to treat a patient.

“Let me use this opportunity to remind people in authority that our duty is to treat people who are alive; we are not trained to wake people up from the death; therefore, when they apportion blame when things don’t go well, it should be properly aligned.

“On issue of police report, I don’t know why they expect a doctor who is attending to a patient to abandoned another patient in search of police report.

“We view that the people who are bringing in accident victim should take the responsibility of bringing police report, bringing doctors report, it is not the duty of a doctor to abandon other patients in search of police report.

“We have been badly traumatized because of the negative publicity, it is absolutely unfair, especially when people in governance who are supposed to be in the know are expecting us to do otherwise,” he stressed.

He described the whole issue as unfortunate, while sounding a note of warning that the Nigerian doctors were not magicians to wake the dead, but only trained to treat the sick people.

He stressed that if people brought dead body to the hospital, “they should know that the place for dead people is in the mortuary and they shouldn’t take it upon the doctors”.

Ugwuanyi, therefore, appealed to the relevant government agencies to be alive to their responsibilities, especially in the area of security, adding that security agents should secure doctors’ lives

He said that doctors were now being victimised in the hospital, in their place of work, adding that NMA had reported several incidences of doctors and nurses who were beaten up in their places of work.

He said that some doctors had also been murdered in their consulting rooms, and that nobody was talking about that, while appealing that when there were lapses, the blame should be channeled to the appropriate quarters.

He said that adequate security should be provided so that the few doctors who still remained in the country would have the psychological sanity to discharge their responsibilities.

He earlier said that the physician week is an event to introspect and reflect

on the meaning of being a physician, stressing that it had historic antecedents.

Ugwuanyi said the period was also a time for the association to look out for each other and identify issues of common interest and also use the opportunity to do medical outreach.

He said that the period was also a time to render selfless service to the less privileged, and a period to look at contemporary issues affecting the smooth practice of medicine in Nigeria. 

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