Mai Ahmad Fatty, the secretary general for The Gambia Moral Congress (GMC) in a press conference on Sunday said patients’ situations are aggravating and are dying because of the actions of those doctors on strike.
“We understand from the media that the medical profession was in rage by certain remarks made by the minister of Health”, he said. “These remarks have not killed anybody. But the industrial actions of some of the medical doctors is costing lives,” Mr. Fatty said.
He said this is prejudicial to the health of the nation and is causing serious difficulties for the patients across the health facilities and therefore urged the medical professionals especially those on strike to continue to dialogue with the authorities and return to the hospitals and the health centres to attend to their patients, saying at the end of the day they should respect their oath of office.
“At the end of the day what is more fundamental and paramount for medical practitioners is the hypocritic oath – the oath to save lives under all difficulties”, he said. “And we have seen this oath time and again from time immemorial medical doctors saving lives even in combat situations even attending to enemy combatants in order to save lives”
He said Gambian people should be development focus within the confines of human rights approach, noting it is important for people to express their rights hence they are provided by the constitution and cannot be taken by any government. He was, however, quick to say that these rights should be exercised responsibly and the public interest should supersede all else.
“We should exercise these rights responsibly in the public interest. When a public interest conflicts with personal interest or sectional interest, it is the public interest that should prevail” he said. “Currently public interest will be better served when patients are attended to by doctors and when our health facilities continue to function by our health practitioners,” the former Interior minister said.
Mr. Fatty said while they are not attending to patients in public health facilities, it is untrue that they are on strike because they are certainly the same doctors attending to private citizens who have the money to pay the services of private doctors in private health care facilities which he described as “discrimination, distinction, unfair and unjust”.
“It is a premise that under certain circumstances only the wealthy and the well to do can have uninterrupted access to medical care. I think this is unethical, we do not want to know the brouhaha between the doctors and the government, what we care about is Gambian citizens who are dying, who have no other alternative than to go to public hospitals”.
He urged Gambians to be honest and also urged both parties to exercise restraint in the national interest so that the country can continue to grow in consistent in the manner with the aspiration of its citizens.