Nurses under the aegis of University Graduates of Nursing Science Association (UGONSA) on Monday appealed to the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) to shelve its planned nationwide strike.
The association, in a statement, said the oath of allegiance “to God and humanity by health workers was sacrosanct and that no reason was good enough for anyone to breach it in the name of strike’’.
In a statement issued in Abakaliki by UGONSA’s National Secretary, Mr Goodluck Nshi, the association decried incessant strikes in the health sector.
It pointed out that innocent Nigerians were unnecessarily being punished each time care delivery was disrupted by industrial action.
”It is, to say the least, inhumanity, for anybody to contemplate visiting more hardship on innocent Nigerians that have been significantly crouched by the economic downturn in the country, by grounding healthcare services.
”When the elite have headache, they travel outside the country to get treatment.
“It is the ordinary Nigerians, who do not have the wherewithal to go abroad for treatment that are unnecessarily punished each time the health sector is grounded by strike.
”We appeal passionately to NARD to have a rethink of its position.
“Strike breaches our oath of allegiance and should in no way be an option at all in the health system that is very critical to the lives and general well-being of the populace.
“As we cannot re-create or recover any life lost to strike, we should instead, be all preoccupied with how to help lift the country out of its present economic predicament.
“At a trying period like this, patriotic compatriots think of what they can do to help the country and not how to worsen an already bad situation.
“Embarking on strike would only add to the woes of ordinary Nigerians,” the nurses said.
They commended the “Change Begins with Me” drive of President Muhammadu Buhari, saying that the campaign was apt, timely and most needed in the health sector.
”Ethical values have unfortunately been eroded among our healthcare providers such that at the sound of a “strike gong” they throw away their very essence of living, that is, the patient.
“They trample upon all ethical values and bastardize the oath of allegiance. Such anomalous behaviour is unacceptable and must be stopped.
”The change must begin with our abiding by our sacred oath of allegiance to God and humanity. We must develop alternative ways of handling industrial disputes other than embarking on strikes,” the statement said.
The association, however, urged the government to always be proactive, equitable and prompt in attending to genuine requests or agitation of groups in the health sector to forestall avoidable scenarios.
”Government at different levels should not wait until health workers embark on strike before addressing their issues.
“They should also lead the “change begins with me” campaign in the health sector, by placing premium on infrastructure upgrade and on the welfare of care providers by handling their genuine demands,’ it said.