It’s hard for anyone to argue that the ravaging corona pandemic is not the third world war predicted by the world’s foremost seer of all time Nostradamus. This is so because the pandemic with its frightening death toll in just three months, destruction of livelihoods, widespread hunger and starvation, collapse of economic activities and social disruptions as well as other deprivations reminiscent of a conventional war cannot by for all intents and purposes be described as having less impact than a war. Just like in a conventional warfare in which every nation depends on her military to win or lose, health workers during an epidemic let alone a pandemic are at the front line while the nation depends on them to save the people. Whatever policy the government comes up with in its campaign to win the corona war, health workers are the only foot soldiers required to physically confront the enemy (the disease) if the war must be won.
It’s at this highly desperate and dangerous time, that the resident doctors of the Enugu state University of science and Technology in their own wisdom find appropriate to down tools thereby callously leaving over 7 million Enugu residents and people at the mercy of the dreaded pandemic. I’m told that their vexation is that of non payment of certain allowances. I do not think any Enugu resident in this war time, is interested in knowing the doctors reason for choosing this time as the best and right time to betray them whatever their reason might be.
Even ASUU, that went on strike before the pandemic penetrated the nation’s borders, had since called it off even though they are not considered essential workers in the pandemic war. That they did not because the government listened to their protestations but because they realized that the country has to urgently fight a rampaging enemy and win before any other commitment.
It’s thus shocking to note that all over the world, no worker or trade union is on strike in the face of the corona pandemic except the resident doctors of ESUT teaching hospital Enugu. Health workers abandoning their patients during a pandemic is no doubt equal in effect to soldiers abandoning the battle field for any reason even for the very genuine reason of non provision of sufficient weapons to combat a more sophisticated enemy. The worst they can do after letting the authorities know of their plight, is to tactically retreat from the enemy’s strongest location in order to attack later and not to abandon the battle field. We hear every now and then that our soldiers fighting Book Haram are having less sophisticated weapons than the enemy but the are still fighting and have not allowed terrorists to overrun the entire country for whatever reason they might have.
Even, if the Doctors’s vexation is not about allowances but that of non provision of testing kits and personal protective equipment PPEs, which could expose them to the virus, the worst they can do is to allow the few of them that are properly kitted to continue working while the government tries to comes up with a solution and not to down tools. The foreign media is awash with the scarcity of PPEs and testing kits all over the world including in the US, the UK, France, India and many others. The reason is that the new strain of corona virus caught the whole world unprepared and thus no county had enough time to stock pile before they started losing their citizens in frightening numbers to the disease. In fact, surgical masks appears to be the most in short supply forcing many countries to resort to improvisation.
The UKs conservative party headed by Boris Johnson has recently come under severe criticism for the current shortage of PPEs and testing kits in the country and which has made workers of the NHS to complain bitterly while battling the pandemic. The Prime minister we are told has reluctantly placed an order for the supply of millions of masks from China something he never wanted to do because of the worsening relations between the two countries fueled by alleged lack of information from China and which has led to the pandemic.
In the midst of all these scarcities, we have not heard that the workers of NHS or those the US or any other country have withdrawn their services to leave their people at the mercy of the pandemic.
What the resident doctors of ESUT is doing is thus reprehensible, unheard of, strange, shocking, unprecedented and a dangerous gamble with horrifying consequences. Their leaders have demonstrated the highest irresponsibility ever tolerable in any sane society especially by people who swore to the so-called hippocratic oath to put human life before profit.
I’m sure that Hippocrates the world acclaimed father of medicine must be rioting in his grave by now on what some businessmen who should no business with medicine have turned medicine into.
This is surely not a government’s affair as the goofing doctors ESUT who have completely gone astray, must be prepared to account to Enugu people and indeed humanity for abandoning them when they needed them most. If they accuse them of war crime and conspiracy with their enemies to destroy them, they will have no defence. If the government accuses them of playing dangerous politics in collaboration with political opponents at a very dangerous time, they will also have no defence. A word is enough for the wise. From Barr Josephat Omeke