Striking Gambian doctors and the government have reached an agreement to end the long-drawn industrial action that affected Gambia’s health institutions.
Doctors under the banner of Gambia Medical and Dental Association and Gambia Resident Doctors embarked on a strike action demanding for an apology and the resignation of health minister Saffie Lowe Ceesay, who accused young doctors of being unpatriotic and stealing medicines from government health facilities.
Ms Ceesay has denied making the statement attributed to her but doctors insisted she uttered them. The Minister later apologised but the doctors insisted that was not enough and unless the minister resigned they would go ahead with their strike action.
Now, the President of the Gambia Resident Doctors, Dr. Ebrima Bah and Gambian Vice President, Fatoumatta Jallow Tambajang have signed an agreement which has led the striking doctors to call off the strike action.Under the terms of the agreement the government would address the problems faced by doctors in health facilities. The government agreed to provide essential drugs and medical supplies in hospitals and improve on the poor working conditions of doctors. The government also assured doctors of protection against retribution for their participation in the sit-down strike that started in March.
“We want to make it clear that the Ministry of Health will be held accountable from now on and we will no longer remain silent and watch our innocent patients die,” Dr Bah said.
“We would also add that this is consistent with our sworn Hippocratic Oath, which in summary says a doctor must do everything to ensure that his/her patient gets the best services.”