The Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) has called for a law that would protect health workers against assault while on duty.
The association made the call in a statement jointly signed by its President, Dr. Aliyu Sokomba; the Secretary-General, Dr. Bilkis Muhammed and Publicity and Social Secretary, Dr. Egbogu Stanley.
In the statement made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Kaduna on Sunday, the association decried the rising incidences of assault of health workers while carrying out their legitimate duties.
The doctors suggested that governments should pass the law to make any attack on doctors a non-bailable offense with a minimum of one-year jail term.
They lamented that the health professionals were being threatened and attacked, even while providing life-saving emergencies.
According to them, there was a dire need for legal protection that would ensure a secure working environment for doctors and other healthcare providers in the country.
“We condemn in very clear terms the recent assault of a female doctor at Maitama District Hospital, Abuja, who was violently attacked and stripped naked by relatives of patients she was treating.
“It is disheartening that a female doctor will be physically abused in such a dishonorable manner.
“In another incident on Jan. 14, at Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital Nnewi, two male doctors on a call at the Special Care Unit were beaten mercilessly by patient relatives.
“The assailants attacked the doctors after losing a newborn baby to neonatal asphyxia after several efforts to resuscitate the baby failed.
“This ugly trend has become alarming, considering the spate of occurrence, especially in government hospitals where mobs freely take the law into their hands with apparent impunity without consequences,” they said.
The resident doctors, therefore, urged the government to step in and curb the trend
They stressed that the frightening development had made it impossible for doctors to work with dedication and devotion for fear of being attacked.
“We demand that doctors and other healthcare providers are provided with the protection they need while on duty.
“Strong action against any person who assault doctors and other health workers must be ensured by law enforcement, as such they need for relevant laws.
“In the meantime, we call on the federal, state and local governments and managers of health facilities to collaborate with security agencies to beef up security in health facilities.
“This will help in protecting all health workers and ensure arrest and prosecution of any person who assaults health workers,” the doctors said.
The association called on its members to remain calm and continue to discharge their duties, assuring that they would ensure justice for the assaulted members to forestall future occurrence.