Doctors will stay home and not resume for duty in Lagos from today, the 20th of May, in protest of harassment by security agents in the state, per the announcement of the state’s chapter of the Nigerian Medical Association.
What they are saying: The Chairman of the Lagos NMA, Saliu Oseni, who announced the decision said it was in reaction to complaints from its members across the state of several cases of harassment and intimidation.
- He claims even ambulances moving patients in emergency situations were impounded.
- The sit-at-home order, starting today, will remain indefinitely.
Why it matters: This is the worst possible time for doctors to embark on strike. Lagos has the highest confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country with 2755, according to the NCDC.
- Prior to the outbreak of the viral disease, Lagos has struggled with the shortage of doctors. Chairman of the Medical Guild, Dr. Oluwajimi Sodipo, criticized the state’s replacement efforts for departing doctors and the poor patient-to-doctor ratio in January.
What to watch: How quickly the Lagos state government and the Presidential Task Force for COVID-19 will address the complaints of the doctors and get them back to work.
- Several residents have voiced similar complaints of extortion and harassment against the security agents who seem not to understand the exceptions made to the curfew and movement restrictions, including special consideration for health workers and citizens in emergency situations.
- Last month, security forces reportedly killed more Nigerians than the COVID-19 disease.