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Nigeria doctors call for law against assaults

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By Okunloye Abiodun

An increase in the number of attacks against health workers was recorded.

The Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) has urged the National Assembly to promptly pass a law that would consider assaulting healthcare professionals as a criminal act in Nigeria. In a statement released on Sunday after its January National Executive Council (NEC) meeting, the association highlighted a surge in the number of attacks against doctors while they are carrying out their duties. Instances of recent cases were observed at the Dalhatu Araf Specialist Hospital in Lafia, Nasarawa State, Ekiti State University Teaching Hospital, UNIOSUN Teaching Hospital in Osogbo, and the recent one in the Federal Teaching Hospital (FTH) Lokoja.

Reports have been officially confirmed by the FTH management, highlighting instances where angry relatives of a deceased patient physically attacked both staff members and security personnel within the hospital premises. Abdulrahman Abdullahi, the FTH Hospital’s Head of Public Relations, reported that despite initially urging them to seek treatment in another health facility due to a full emergency ward, the relatives persistently alleged negligence as the cause of death. However, they disregarded this advice and chose to wait instead.

Medical Association urged FG to improve security across the country.

According to Mr. Abdullahi, the patient was admitted to the emergency ward after a 30-minute wait. He was promptly given a bed and received continuous care. Unfortunately, his condition worsened, and despite attempts to revive him, he was pronounced dead. In light of this incident, the association has urged the Nigerian government to improve security measures in the country, specifically around hospitals and workplaces. The NEC’s decision mandates that any instance of assault towards its members will lead to an instantaneous termination of all services, allowing them to prioritise their safety.

A study conducted by NARD regarding the issue of Workplace Violence against Doctors revealed that an alarming number of 345 cases involving violence against Nigerian doctors were reported in 2022. stating that 74 percent of these attacks necessitated medical intervention, with an additional 15 percent posing a threat to their lives. According to the report, a significant 65 percent of the incidents were attributed to patient loss, while 56 percent were a result of patients not receiving timely attention due to workload. Another 41 percent were caused by inadequate communication, and finally, 28 percent were specifically linked to insufficient security and surveillance.

Between 8 and 38 percent of healthcare staff experience physical violence.

Also, the World Health Organisation (WHO) reports that the well-being of healthcare staff is severely compromised by violence directed towards them, with consequential effects on their psychological and physical state, as well as their work motivation. WHO reveals that a significant percentage, ranging between 8.0 and 38 percent, experience physical violence during their professional journeys, predominantly inflicted by patients and visitors. During the Abuja health summit from January 30th to February 3rd, the doctors presented their request for compensating their accoutrements allowance at the NEC meeting.

In the year 2023, the payment of a special allowance worth ₦25,000 was approved by the FG for doctors practising in hospitals, medical centres, and clinics within the federal public service. Surprisingly, despite this approval, the CMDs and MDs in tertiary health institutions have not yet initiated the disbursement of the sanctioned account allowance, according to a statement from NARD. The NEC expressed its disappointment at the lack of adherence by the Federal Government and Ministry of Finance regarding the enhancement of the Consolidated Medical Salary Structure (CONMESS) and various allowances. Moreover, the NEC noted its members’ discontent with the extensive delay in receiving their skipping arrears and the prolonged wait for salary and promotion arrears.

Related Article: Health sector faces personnel shortage – NMA

Lastly, the organisation pleaded with the Federal Ministry of Health and Social Welfare to require all tertiary health institutions’ CMDs/MDs to provide the accoutrement allowance to their members as distributed. The NEC also requested the Federal Government to diligently revitalise the economy and aid in restraining the growing problem of inflation and adversity, pushing skilled medical professionals to leave the country. The request was made to the respective exam boards to retract the rise in exam fees so that resident doctors could financially manage their registration expenses. The NEC decided that the local chapters should discuss and develop a plan, which will be communicated in no less than four weeks. Then, an Extraordinary NEC meeting will be scheduled.


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Ask Nigeria
Member
22 days ago

Nigeria doctors call for law against assaults. – An increase in the number of attacks against health workers was recorded. – Express your point of view.

Last edited 22 days ago by Ask Nigeria
SarahDiv
Member
22 days ago

It’s disheartening to hear about the increasing attacks on healthcare workers. NARD’s call for legislation to protect doctors is crucial for ensuring their safety while they serve the nation. Additionally, addressing issues like delayed allowances and arrears is essential to retain skilled professionals and improve healthcare delivery in the country.

Adeoye Adegoke
Member
21 days ago

That’s really concerning to hear about the increase in attacks against health workers in Nigeria. It’s absolutely important to prioritize their safety and well-being. Doctors and healthcare professionals play a crucial role in our society, and they deserve to work in a safe environment.
Assaults on healthcare workers not only jeopardize their physical and mental well-being, but they also have a negative impact on the overall healthcare system. These attacks can create fear and anxiety among healthcare professionals, which may ultimately affect the quality of care they provide.
Implementing a law against assaults on health workers is a necessary step to ensure their protection and to send a strong message that such behavior will not be tolerated. This law should not only focus on the consequences for the perpetrators but also emphasize the importance of creating a safe and respectful environment for healthcare professionals to carry out their duties.
It’s crucial for the government, healthcare institutions, and the public to come together to address this issue. By raising awareness, promoting respect for healthcare workers, and providing necessary security measures, we can create an environment where healthcare professionals can work without fear of assault.
Let’s support the call for a law against assaults on health workers and strive to create a healthcare system that values and protects those who dedicate their lives to saving others.

Taiwo
Member
21 days ago

Nigerian physicians demand legislation prohibiting assaults. Attacks on health workers have increased, according to the statistics. In order to make assaulting medical personnel a crime in Nigeria, the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors, or NARD, has encouraged the National Assembly to enact legislation as soon as possible.Staff workers who were trying their hardest to preserve lives should not be treated in such a way; the deceased patient violently attacked both them and security personnel on the hospital grounds. 

Kazeem1
Member
21 days ago

The association has pushed the Nigerian government to strengthen security protocols across the nation, particularly in the areas surrounding companies and hospitals.Attacks on healthcare professionals put their bodily and emotional health in danger, but they also have a detrimental effect on the healthcare system as a whole.Enacting legislation to prevent assaults on healthcare professionals is essential to guaranteeing their safety.