Doctors in Rivers seek government protection from kidnappers
Medical doctors under the aegis of Association of General and Private Medical Practitioners of Nigeria (AGPMPN) have decried increasing abduction of doctors in Rivers State and are seeking protection by armed security men.
They raised the alarm at its National Executive Council (NEC) meeting in Port Harcourt at the weekend.
National President of the association, Dr. Omo-Ehijele Frank Odafen, told journalists that it was disheartening that doctors now live and carry out their duties with fear.
He condemned the frequent kidnapping of medical doctors, noting that some of their members have lost their lives to kidnappers.
Odafen charged government and security agencies to ensure safety of doctors by providing armed security men for medical practitioners to enable them carry out their duties effectively without fear of being abducted or killed.
“Doctors are struggling people. Doctors are committed people. We practice social service for the nation. We are appealing to the society and kidnappers to leave doctors alone. We don’t have money. We are struggling people.
“We are appealing to government, especially the Rivers State government. We thank the government and security agencies too”.
But, we are appealing to the government to please provide armed security men for doctors at their residential homes and offices.
“Government should ensure that doctors are protected, so that they can freely carry out their services to the society unhindered,” he said.
The effects of economic recession in the sector, according to Odafen is reflected in hospitals experiencing “very low capacity utilisation of less than 20 per cent, as never before in the history of the country.”
He added that there was high level of patients leaving hospitals, increasing number of debtor-patients because the bulk of their patients were out-of-pocket payers.
He noted the high level of poor adherence to treatment modules, which has led to drug resistance and high cost of healthcare services, as well as patronage of quacks, prayer houses and self-medication.
Odafen pointed out that the association was bogged down by multiple-taxation in the three tiers of government, whose major interest was to increase their internally generated revenue (IGR) and appealed to government to address the development to salvage the health sector.