“We have called off the strike so that top union officials can negotiate with the government. I have made an appeal to the striking doctors to go back to their work after the government assured us there will be no victimisation,” Boniface Chitayi
Did you see that placard carried by a picketing doctor that said: “I OFFER SERVICES I CANNOT AFFORD”? Quite an evocative punchline it packed in its poignancy, especially since doctors services are literally matters of life and death.
But it got me thinking. How many professionals can actually afford the professional services they themselves offer? How many people can afford the services offered by doctors?
If it takes three to seven years for a doctor to get to be one of the specialists where real money can be made, then let’s look at other professionals of a similar level of experience and ask ourselves this: can they afford the services they offer? Can an architect with two years experience afford to pay another architect?, can a lawyer with two years experience pay to be represented by another lawyer?, can a teacher two years out of college afford fees in a good high school for their kid? Can a security officer afford to pay for security?
If the doctors’ demands are met, what about the nurses?, they can’t afford the services they provide either….
In fact I have come to the sad conclusion that almost none of the people who have to work for a living can afford their own services. If and when time comes when someone actually can afford their own professional services, they usually employ someone to carry out those services for them and exit the ranks of the worker ants. We are trapped in a system, it is not just the doctors, it is everyone. Anybody who has to work for a living is stuck in a system where the yoke has been replaced by a title, the chains have been replaced by a credit line, the whip has been replaced by societal expectation and the master is the one who controls the money supply.
I also blame the media for making the entire strike about doctors’ pay when it should have been rightly highlighted that our entire healthcare, if not every other sector, is dysfunctional and rotten to the core. A fight to reform healthcare for everyone was reduced to just one aspect of the whole failure of a system. It shouldn’t have.
In conclusion, I say there can be no fair remuneration for doctors, or anybody else, if even a single person will still have need to hold up a placard that reads: DOCTORS OFFER SERVICES I CANNOT AFFORD