The tragic death of a female doctor, Vwaere Diaso, who fell from a faulty elevator at the Lagos State General Hospital, Odan, Lagos Island, has exposed the poor state of healthcare facilities and the government’s complacency in addressing the issue.
Diaso, who was a house officer at the hospital, died on Tuesday, August 2, 2023, after the elevator she was in plummeted from the 10th floor. The elevator was said to have had faults which staff had frequently complained about to no avail.
The incident which sparked outrage and protests among the medical staff and the public, who accused the hospital’s management and the Lagos State government of negligence and indifference to the plight of the health workers and the patients.
The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) in Lagos State had also announce an indefinite strike, after instructing all the doctors working in the three government hospitals on the Lagos Island to down tools in protest of Diaso’s death. The NMA said the strike was to demand justice for Diaso and to call for an overhaul of the healthcare system in the state.
However, instead of taking responsibility and addressing the root causes of the problem, the Lagos State government and its officials resorted to religious explanations and excuses.
Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu, the wife of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who is also a medical doctor, said Diaso’s death was a “spiritual attack” against the health sector. She also linked the incident to the jet accident that occurred in the state on Tuesday, August 2, 2023. She asked “How? How? How?” while seeking answers from the crowd.
The Lagos State government has been accused of prioritizing cosmetic projects over essential services such as health, education and security. The state has one of the highest budgets in Nigeria, but also one of the lowest per capita spending on health.
Diaso’s death and like many others can be avoided if we have a quick the medical response check marked on the priority list of governance. The frustration over Diaso’s death and is a subtle demand from Nigerians a for better healthcare facilities and services for themselves and their loved ones.
We have to also question the role of religious opinion in governance and public affairs, especially when it is used to justify or cover up incompetence, corruption, and injustice. They have urged the government to focus on solving problems rather than invoking supernatural forces or explanations.
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