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Striking doctors put patients in peril

Striking doctors put patients in peril

The strike action that has been declared by the medical corps in Freetown has put the lives of many patients at the main referral facility at stake. Making matters worse incoming cases that require emergency medical attention have been left in the lurch, bringing the whole gamut of medical service delivery at the facility to a painful halt.

“The strike is on” assured Dr Samba Jalloh, General Secretary of the Sierra Leone Medical and Dental Association, adding that they hate to go on strike, but had to.

A press release issued by the Ministry of Health and Sanitation appealed to the public to be patient as the Ministry worked out a peaceful resolution to the stand-off between the Ministry and the medical doctors.

“The general public and the staff of the ministry are encouraged to remain calm and continue their normal business as these matters are fully investigated to a peaceful and amicable conclusion”, the Government release, dated 13th April, 2021, states, but failed to mention the plight of the sick in the hospital beds, nor the out patients.

Meanwhile, a statement issued earlier by the Junior Doctors Association called for the resignation of the three senior officials at the Ministry, including the Deputy Minister I, (DM1) the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) and the Permanent Secretary (PS), named in assaulting a female doctor at the hospital and inflicting cuts on her hand for refusing to hand over her phone which she was using to record a video of the unsanitary condition at the hospital.

“The Executive and members of the association are requesting for the PS, the CMO and DM1for their immediate resignation because our members don’t feel safe and confident working with authorities who violate the fundamental human rights of its people”, the statement reads.

The Junior Doctors declared a strike action until their demands were met. Their action was followed by the general body of medical practitioners in solidarity with their junior colleagues. If allowed to deteriorate, the situation will have dire consequences on the lives of the sick. 

By Emmanuel M Kamara

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