By Danmaryam Zayamu
Following constant harassment and assault of medical and dental practitioners and other health workers across the country, the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) has called on the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Adamu, to set up a Special Task Force to provide 24-hour security for them.
The NMA also called on governments at all levels, relevant agencies of government and management of healthcare institutions to put in place genuine security measures that would help in putting an end to what it described as, the unacceptable rise in the cases of assault of medical and dental practitioners and the entire health workforce in all health facilities across the country.
In a statement signed by the Association’s President and Secretary, Dr. Francis Faduyile and Dr. Olumuyiwa Odusote, respectively, “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.
“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.”