Newly elected chairman of the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA), Anambra state chapter, Dr. Jide Onyekwelu has expressed worry over the spate of harassments, arrests, and dehumanization of its members following deaths of patients in hospitals across the country.
He also regretted the societal negative perception of doctors, which he noted contributed to the attribution of all death cases in the hospital to their negligence.
Delivering his acceptance speech after his election together with the other seven officers, Onyekwelu wondered what would warrant doctors to be treated as criminals despite their level of sacrifices in saving lives.
He maintained that no doctor would deliberately kill his patient, stressing that it was only natural for humans to die, and most times in the hospitals.
He said, “The doctor is faced with lots of challenges. The doctors’ primary duty, ordained by God and by his training is to save lives, promote and rehabilitate dysfunctional health and superintend transition to death.
“How come a patient dies in a hospital and the society blames the doctor for the death? How come the aggrieved patient’s relatives connive with security agents to arrest and detain the doctor treating him like a common criminal?
The NMA boss enjoined relatives to consider proper channels of seeking redress in the event of the death of their own than resorting to harassments, arrest, and detention of doctors.
“Doctors stake their lives and safety to render healthcare, but the system sees it as obligatory service that does not require compensation and appreciation.
“Hence, how come doctors must go on strike to press home their demands for payment of salaries? How come doctors must strike for government to provide personal protective equipment to protect doctors from their life-threatening duty?”
Appreciating Governor Willie Obiano and Commissioner for Health, Dr. Vincent Okpala for their favorable disposition to working with the body, Onyekwelu appealed to Obiano to redeem his N10million pledge for the commencement of the NMA Secretariat expected to house Cancer Treatment and Research Center.