Seriously, Doctors Are Small gods By Funke Egbemode

It pisses me off when people who don’t know anything pretend to know something. My anger is worse with those who ought to know yet know nothing. And I am mighty angry with you and you and you and the government. You still don’t know why I’m angry, right? Very an­noying people. How long is it going to take a nation of supposedly brilliant people to realize our doctors are big boys, big babes and we should not take them for granted? When are we going to face up to the fact that doctors are not mere men, not ordinary people we should toy with?

If we are as intelligent as we claim we are, won’t we know that men who can make a difference between life and death in as little as a minute are small gods? But what do we know? What do we do? We annoy our doctors every year, force them to dump their stethoscopes in anger. What kind of smart people piss off gods with such reckless abandon annually instead of worshipping them? Only Nigerians. Smart people offer sacrifices to their gods regularly. They don’t put their stubby fingers in the eyes of the gods.

Look at me. I spent four years in the uni­versity getting a degree but doctors spend six years. Do I need Wikipedia to tell me my degree is smaller than that of a doctor? Seriously? Other graduates start at grade level 8 in the civil service. Doctors start at level 12. It takes about 10 years to catch up with these special people. Isn’t that why I go to the hospital each time I have malaria even though I have been having malaria since forever? Still I’m no specialist, no consultant, at treating malaria.

When are we going to get it into our pompous heads that it is and will always be our fault that doctors go on strike every year? We should quit blaming these great people who help to keep us alive and well. We should listen to their every whisper, appreciate every drop of their sweat. Of course, we can never pay them enough for their efforts, which is why they have to take an oath to be good to us even when we are bad to them. They are priceless, our jewels of inestimable value.

These human beings are bigger than their employers, don’t you think? That is what the federal and state governments needs to know.We all need to acknowl­edge the goodness and greatness of our doctors. The Minister and the Minister of State for Health are medical doctors. The heads of NAFDAC, NHIS, NACA, among other health institutions are doctors. I hear between the federal and state hospitals in Lagos, there are 2,000 consultants in La­gos alone. Don’t exclaim yet. I also heard that 92% of the budget of the health sector goes to paying salaries, 58% of which goes to medical doctors. Are your eyes threaten­ing to pop out of their sockets? Tell them to maintain status quo ante.

It may look like doctors are getting too much as it is but we need to do more. It doesn’t matter that NMA is a trade union, not a member of NLC or TUC, we always negotiate with the body. But we need to do more. It does not matter that it is rude for employees to order their employers around, they have us all by the balls and they are squeezing. Let’s beg them even if the 24 reasons patients are dying since July 1 is not our fault. Most of their demands are admin­istrative issues but we must still beg them now. Check out some of the reasons and see how boxed into a corner we are by men and women whose salaries are paid from your tax and sweat.

“The NMA is opposed to the appoint­ment of directors in the hospitals. This position distorts the chain of command in the hospital, induces anarchy.”

Ah, chain of command is important. Very important. Anything that distorts it is reason enough to promote a few hundreds of pa­tients from the ward to the mortuary.

“Grade level 12 (CONMESS 2) in the health sector MUST be SKIPPED for medical doctors.”

Good point. Let us sacrifice a few babies in the neonatal units to this demand. Those premature little things ought to have known better than to come into the world at a time medical doctors are still being made to en­dure CONMESS 2. It is not fair to help these babies while no one is helping doctors.

“The title “CONSULTANT” in a hospi­tal setting describes the relationship be­tween the Specialist Medical Doctor and his patient. It will be a source of confu­sion if the title is applied to any other health worker who statutorily does not own patient.”

Yes now. The doctors own us as soon as we have the misfortune of stepping into their hospitals. This CONSULTANT chieftaincy title is the exclusive preserve of doctors. Burying a few patients to secure this title is just a little sacrifice even if it is the reason you are burying your favourite aunt because there was no doctor on duty when she got to the hospital. I’m even suggesting special beaded stethoscope and scrubs for Consul­tants so they can stand out in the crowd of health workers.

“Surgeon General of the Federation MUST be appointed with immediate effect.”

I like the MUST in capital letters. That’s what happens when the employee becomes bigger than the employer. A man goes to ap­ply for a job, his files clutched in his nervous hands behind him, wearing faded shirts and cheap shoes. You give him the job and then he starts throwing words like MUST around because he can now afford a brand new Kia Picanto? The little boy is getting too big for his booties, ain’t he?

“Clinical duty allowance for Honor­ary Consultants should be increased by 90% of CONMESS and Hazard allow­ance MUST be at least N100, 000 per month for Medical Doctors.”

This is a matter of urgent national im­portance. This sacred allowance is enough reason for a woman to lose an only child be­cause the doctors are on strike. It’s enough reason to enlarge the community of widows and widowers. We should pay them their money and when we do, we shall insist they make the dead walk.

“Government should as a matter of urgency set up a health trust fund that will enhance the upgrading of all hos­pitals in Nigeria.”

Awwww. How nice and considerate. These small gods are not totally mean after all. They kill a few and heal a few. But what is a well equipped hospital if there are no doctors to man the equipment because next year, our little gods will go on strike again. It’s an annual ritual.

One thing bothers me though. When these doctors resume and find out that 10 of the patients in Ward 6, 5 in Ward 7 and 15 in the maternity ward died while they were on strike, what will they tell God when praying five times a day or when they ‘lift up holy hands’ in church on Sunday?

Anthony-Claret Onwutalobi
Anthony-Claret Onwutalobi
Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC and CEO of Portia Web Solutions. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.

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