Before disaster strikes patients in Nigerian hospitals, —By COMRADE BERNARD ENYIA

Th e current trend of events in the health sector and its attendant consequences on patients has made it necessary that I should, before disaster strike raise alarm like a chick abandoned by the mother hen, as danger looms around the corner.

Strike actions have become a recurrent decimal, and probably the only way to attract the attention of government to the ever increasing demands of workers, this time with particular reference to the health sector.

It has also been adopted as the easiest and fastest way to acquire popularity and ascendance to a force to reckon with, for negotiation, lobbying, gratifi cation and fame.

Th e Network of People Living With Diabetes has decided to speak before we gasp our last breateh so that the whole world and generations unborn will bear us witness that we died avoidable and excruciating death, not because there was no remedy but as undesirable and innocent victims of a feud between health workers and government.

Suffi ce it to say that, when two elephants fi ght the grass and the entire natural element around suff er.

Let it be noted that, there is no amount of innocence that will preclude the victim from danger irrespective of religious affi liations and ethnic background.

Disaster of course is not selective and knows no boundary and the ripple eff ect and consequences is that anybody can be a victim.

Th e fi rst to feel the pain is the victim, eventually the immediate family members that will grief for the loss of their loved one, children are orphaned with an increase in number of widows and widowers but the government whose population will be depleted in terms of work force and voting strength will also share in the grief.

It appears that the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) and the rest of the health workers such as the Joint Health Sector Union (JOHESU) the Nigeria Nurses and Midwives and other allied health workers are running shifts duties because only last month the NARD embarked on a 10-day warning strike, the other health workers are currently doing their own, is it a competition or superiority complex? While the doctors are demanding from the government to recruit more doctors, provision of drugs in hospital pharmacies, improved condition of service, and improvement of basic infrastructure at the state and tertiary hospitals: other health workers are demanding their own.

Th e Network of People Living With Diabetes is determine more than ever before to hold you liable, responsible and accountable if any of our members dies as a result of this neglect and irresponsibility, Th e ongoing strike is a threat to our corporate existence.

My father was critically ill and bed ridden but was forcefully discharged from the hospital against medical ethics during the 2014 NARD strike action and he died few weeks after, neither government nor the NARD has apologized to me or my family, yet we are witnessing series of strike actions, is this how we are going to achieve the sustainable development goals? Th e Federal Ministry of Health is yet to recognize the seriousness of diabetes epidemic in Nigeria.

Where are the funds for diabetes and other non communicable diseases, where are the free or subsidize drugs you promise us, even the National Health Insurance scheme Policy doesn’t accommodate diabetes drugs.

Why are you discriminating against people living with diabetes a disease condition whose mortality rate in Nigeria is higher than that of cancer and HIV combined, check your statistics.

As the World Diabetes Day (WDD) 2017 celebration draws near (November 14) with the theme for this year “Diabetes and Women, Our Right to a Healthy Future” it is regrettable that Nigeria currently has the highest number of diabetics in sub-saharan Africa with about 7-10 million Nigerians living with diabetes and associated high morbidity and mortality.

Two out of every fi ve women with diabetes are of reproductive age, accounting for over 60 million worldwide.

Diabetes is the 9th leading cause of death in women globally, causing 2.

1 million deaths per year; women with type 2 diabetes are almost 10 times more likely to have coronary heart disease than women without the condition.

Women with type 1 diabetes have an increase risk of miscarriage or having a baby with malformations.

Government is still gambling with diabetes data but rely on permutations from population indices from other countries.

If the population of South Africa is 20 million, for instance, and the prevalence rate is 5% it will then assume that since Nigeria population is approximately 180 million, if you divide 180 by 20 you have 9 and when you times it by 5% what you get is the fi gure she will showcase to the world, when in reality it is not so.

Th e worse scenario is that there is no work place policy and anti stigma bill to protect the diabetic in government and the private sector subjecting them to untold hardship and victimization.

Diabetics are not involved in policy development that aff ect them rather people with little or mere clinical knowledge are the ones that dominate both policy and advocacy of diabetes care.

We join our voices to say that the incessant strike action by medical practitioners and other health workers must be checked forthwith to forestall a reoccurrence.

We appeal to the striking workers and NARD not to drag their feet but be ready to shift grounds to enable a healthy and people oriented negotiations, the terms of agreement should be tailored towards a sustainable health care management system that will provide quality service for all and sundry in line with international best practices.

As a member of International Diabetes Federation Blue Circle Voices Network I will not relent on my eff orts to lend my voice in the advocacy drive to key stakeholders at the local, regional, national and international levels with the expectation that all concerns mention above are addressed and recommendations implemented by government.

Comrade Enyia is National Secretary General, Diabetes Association of Nigeria and National Coordinator, Network of People Living with Diabetes in Nigeria.

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