NMA decries aggression against government health workers

NMA decries aggression against government health workers

  •  says personnel are overstretched because of brain drain

The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) has urged members of the public to stop venting their anger or inflicting injuries on  medical practitioners whenever they are aggrieved about the nation’s poor health services.

According to the association, the health sector has continued to be bogged down by the problem of brain drain which is overstretching the few medical personnel left behind in government hospitals.

Aggrieved patients and their relatives should, therefore, send their complaints through appropriate channels, rather than transferring their anger or inflicting injuries on the few medical practitioners still in the country.

These views were expressed in Lagos on Saturday by the Lagos Zone Secretary of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), Dr Ime Okon, when she spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).

“We don’t want to use the brain drain and other reasons as excuses not to give excellent services; that’s why we have complaint channels to keep health workers in check.

“We want to improve ourselves and be of the best standards for everybody because the system is there for everyone.

“Doctors too fall ill, nurses fall ill, and you don’t want to be a victim of a failed system. So we are trying to make it work for everybody.

“It could be my relative that’s sick and I am not on duty, if we have a system that works, it would work well for that person.

“It doesn’t have to be a ‘man-know-man’ thing; once it’s systemic, it will work for everybody,’’ Okon said.

She also told NAN that the use of appropriate channels to register misgivings about the discharge of duty by medical practitioners would contribute a lot to improve healthcare delivery.

Okon stressed that complaint boxes and phone numbers of Medical Directors and Heads of Nursing are placed at strategic locations within all public hospitals.

“Complaints sent there are promptly addressed,’’ she said.

She added that using the complaint channels would yield quick response from hospitals’ management rather than resorting to attack of health workers or resorting to the use of social media to lay complaints.

“Complaints are signals that are treated with confidentiality. If you call and they don’t pick, it means they are busy; you can send a text message and they will call you back.

“NMA is following these complaints and we discover that most of them are frivolous.

“There’s a recent issue at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital where somebody assaulted health workers and the management of the hospital decided to take up the case legally.

“The family is begging for an out-of-court settlement now and the healthcare workers are angry with the decision because people are trying and sweating to ensure the health system works,’’ Okon said.

She also told NAN that cooperation of parents and relatives of patients was needed, noting that health workers understand and try to reduce the psychological pressure faced during treatment.

Okon noted that concerted efforts were being made to ensure that public health facilities improved and functioned optimally for the benefit of citizens. (NAN)

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