The severe impact of strike on the economy, community and individual’s life can’t be over emphasized, especially in a developing country like Nigeria. Based on contrary opinions by many today, it’s being said that doctors do have right to strike, according to ILO, every workers does have the right to go on strike.
Based on the rule of thumb by stakeholders, all stakeholders and groups that are involved must take in ethical approach and share moral responsibilities to put society first.
The Three Main Reasons Why Doctors Go On Strike:
- Genuine Dissatisfaction
The inadequate facilities, drugs, and lack of support from elected Government officials and from employers generate a genuine dissatisfaction for doctors.
Those who are not physicians will often quote this Hipporcatic Oath that says “the health of my patient will be my first consideration “which is a reason why doctor should NOT go on strike.
But when doctors feel they are unable to give provide effective and safe care for their patients, this oath may be the exact reason why they should go on strike.
- The Government and Employer’s Failure
The failure of the Government and employers to respect the collective bargaining agreements (CBAs) for improved conditions of services and wages is really a serious reason in Nigeria.
A signed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) is an agreement, when there is a Failure or delay in implementation; it creates a perception of distrust and lack of commitment, which forms conflicts.
The issues most Doctors have are that, their SCC is sealed together with other Civil Service as being considered by Government as other “Public Service employee”. There’s an error in this philosophy.
Being a Doctor is something you practice, something you are; that’s why it’s difficult for doctors to just continue practicing medicine, which makes them susceptible to exploitation in negotiations.
- Doctor-Patient Relationship
Another reason why Doctors go on strike is because of their medical practices, due to the fact that the relationship with patient changes continuously as time and seasons changes.
In both public and private practice, the patient care decision-making is currently shared between patient demands, insurance companies, employer requirements, and government regulations.
7 Ways to End Doctor’s Strikes in Nigeria
- The Legitimate Collective Bargaining Agreements (CBAs) must be respected and implemented in an appropriate and timely way manner. The arbitration panels and Courts must seriously be involved in this policy.
- Government should ensure that the urge to arbitrarily call specific groups of workers as ‘special services” to denial them of their right should be desisted from.
- The essence of ethics and norms must be integrated and implemented into the profession, into the Government and all employers. By default, all parties have moral obligation to the society.
- To include ALL registered Nigerian doctor, the NMA should endeavor to embark on a major membership drive, and these members should be constantly surveyed, informed and balloted on all matters being discussed on their behalf.
- The doctors’ regulatory body (MDCN) should be responsible for restoring respect to the profession. They should also encourage and accredit more CPD activities in management and administrative fields, because there is a feeling that professional standing may have been deteriorated by repeated strikes in time past.
- The profession must resist the force to make economic demands above the capacity of the government, as it could hinder the provision of other services like public utilities and education. Government has a responsibility to care, while doctors have a duty of care to patients.
- The single most dramatic step in changing doctor’s strikes in Nigeria is to establish a clearly and mutual service for doctors. The code of service for doctors is distinctively different from the Civil Services.