Doctors strike exposes lies of the political cla*s

Wednesday, April 17th, 2024 07:10 | By
KMPDU Secretary General Davji Atellah (carrying megaphone speaker) leading medics' industrial action in the streets.
KMPDU Secretary General Davji Atellah (carrying megaphone speaker) leading doctors' industrial action in the streets. PHOTOS/X (@kmpdu)

The standoff between the doctors and the government is immoral and shameful, an indication of what happens when we endorse deception by politicians. The strike is due to the government’s failure to implement a CBA agreement signed in 2017. The government has refused to take up and train interns and employ doctors based on the agreed-upon terms.

The government is now trying to use underhand tactics and adopt strategies that will frustrate the doctors into accepting to work at lower wages than what was agreed upon. This is an unfortunate situation, which is supported by politicians on both sides of the political divide either by actively aligning themselves with the government or by remaining silent. This is a clear indication that workers’ rights and the public healthcare system are under attack by the political elite.

Doctors and other healthcare workers provide essential services for our common good and need to be compensated accordingly. Paying them less than what they deserve will result in a shortage of specialists and a brain drain, which will result in expensive healthcare.

Students who study medicine mainly come from struggling families, and the hostile attitude of the government takes away their hope for a better and more dignified life. Failing to invest in our doctors is failing the common man who mainly accesses their services in public hospitals.

The current state of affairs for healthcare workers is frustrating. The wages are low and stagnant, which barely competes with inflation. This contributes to the workers feeling emotionally detached and miserable in their jobs.

The ruling class is deliberately pushing down real wages, which results in the working class bearing the brunt of the economic crisis. This effectively reduces professionals such as doctors to hustlers. They are forced to work in several jobs or engage in other trades to supplement their income. We need to create a system that allows medical professionals to work without the fear of not being able to afford the necessities of life.

When agitating for their salaries, the ruling class compares themselves with high-income countries, however, when determining the wages of the working class, the comparison is made with the low-income countries. Taxpayer’s money is being used to fund the luxurious lifestyle of the ruling class. Politicians create unconstitutional offices to reward their friends and cronies but claim to have no money to pay honest workers.

State officers are rewarded generous perks at the expense of workers. For a government that heavily taxes its population, the least it should do is ensure a working public healthcare system. We seem to be sending a message to our children that a political seat is the highest achievement they should endeavour for.

The conditions the political system is currently setting out for the medical profession mean death to the healthcare system. This means only the rich and privileged will have access to it and even so at a very high price. We have sadly normalised flying out for medical care. We fail to invest in our doctors and then fly out to get treatment in other countries that have invested in their doctors.

A functioning healthcare system requires a motivated workforce, rather than one that is constantly operating in survival mode. It’s difficult for health workers to show compassion and effectively deliver their services when they are being exploited by the system. These are professionals whose services are vital to the well-being of our society, and their well-being should be a cornerstone of our society and economy.

Only if we value their services will we experience the maximum benefits of their ingenuity. We must support the efforts of doctors and other unions fighting for better working conditions and pay for their members. Otherwise, we risk enslaving our generation and those of our children.

[email protected]

More on Opinion