By Hassan Zaggi
The Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) has blamed the Nigeria Police Force and other security agencies for being among those who regularly assault health workers at the point of duty.
It, therefore, called on the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Adamu, the management of health facilities to put measures in place to ensure that health workers enjoy adequate protection at all times.
In a statement signed by the NMA President Dr. Francis Faduyile and Secretry, Dr. Olumuyiwa Odusote, in Abuja, yesterday, the association regretted that:
“The NMA is particularly worried about the lukewarm responses of security agencies, management of healthcare institutions and relevant parastatals of government at all levels to this callous act mostly perpetrated by patients relations and surprisingly patients themselves; those the practitioners sacrifice time and resources in ensuring the best of care for amidst numerous challenges in the health sector.
“More worrisome is the fact that the security agents who have the responsibility to protect Nigerians including medical and dental practitioners have been found to be greatly involved in this cruelty as primary assaulters, and sometimes as co-offenders.
“We have recorded cases of assault by men and officers of the Nigeria Police and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps recently.”
The statement reiterated that Nigerian doctors are committed to the delivery of effective healthcare to the populace. It however, lamented that, “this cannot be achieved when the healthcare team works in a volatile environment with incessant threat to the lives and properties of team members.”
“the NMA hereby direct all affiliates and state/FCT branches of the Association to henceforth ensure that perpetrators of acts of assault on doctors are diligently prosecuted and take such further action as may be deemed necessary.
“The Nigerian Medical Association will no longer tolerate any act of assault and molestation of her members nationwide.”
While describing the frequent attack on medical and dental practitioners as callous, barbaric and primitive, the NMA regretted that “this is more disheartening that it occurs while discharging their legitimate duties.
“It is worth noting that in States including FCT and healthcare institutions where this barbaric act has assumed an alarming proportion, it is either no measure is in place to prevent occurrence or deter potential assaulters, or both.
“We also note with displeasure the disposition of relevant authorities including the management of healthcare institutions in cases where victims (healthcare workers) summon courage to seek justice.
“It is also an undisputable fact that security agencies have refused to live up to expectation in ensuring adequate security for healthcare workers and doctors while carrying out their legitimate duties in spite of previous engagements by the NMA and her State Branches as well as other stakeholders with them”.