The Association of Resident Doctors (ARD) has appealed to the Lagos State Government to yield to resolving issues necessitating the ongoing doctor’s strike.
Dr Azeez Ojekunle, ARD President, Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) chapter, made the plea in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday in Lagos.
NAN recalls that the National Association of Resident Doctors had directed its members across the country to embark on an indefinite strike on Aug. 2.
NARD said that the strike was to protest poor working environment in public hospitals, irregular payment of doctor’s salaries and hazard allowances of N5000 which was reviewed last in 1991.
The strike was also to demand the immediate withdrawal of the circular removing House Officers from the scheme of service and the hasty implementation of the circular by the Lagos State Government.
Ojekunle said that some members of ARD had a meeting with representatives of the Lagos State Government from the office of the Head of Service and its counterpart in Establishment, Training and Pension on Aug. 2.
According to him, the meeting is to dialogue and resolve the imbroglio of the strike.
“We requested the withdrawal of the controversial circular removing House Officers and NYSC doctors from the state’s service scheme.
“In spite of that, they (government) were still adamant that it would not be done, rather that we should seek clarification on the interpretation of the circular which is clearly stated in the circular,” he said.
Ojekunle decried the government’s stance on the circular, stressing that it was inimical to development in the health sector.
“That means the government is trying to casualise and pay registered doctors stipends as allowance.
“These are doctors that are the frontline health workers that patients see when they visit hospitals. They are licensed and have been inducted into the medical profession.
“They are working for the government and are part of the scheme of service, as enshrined in their appointment letters.
“But now, they are saying they are suddenly being withdrawn from the scheme of service which is inimical to our healthcare system,” he said.
Ojekunle said that the association also demanded an implementation of the Medical Residency Training Act and the release of the Acts fund for sponsorship of specialisation training.
He also called for the immediate recruitment of more doctors to bridge the current shortfall in the system.
“We need more doctors to be employed, many are leaving the country, while some are leaving for tertiary institutions because of the wide disparity in salary.
“Presently, we have a deficit of over 150 resident doctors and house officers to fill the gaps of doctor-patient ratio and to meet the expectations of service delivery in the state,” he said.
According to him, the delay in the construction of Residents Doctor’s Quarters had been on for over seven years, thus called for immediate commencement of the building.
Ojekunle noted that the impasse was unfortunate, saying patients would bear the brunt of the indefinite strike.
“We are willing to go to the negotiating table again, but the minimum demands of our request must be met in the interest of the health system and the patients,” he said.
He stressed the need for the government to create a conducive working condition and environment that would motivate doctors to shun the lure of migrating overseas to practise.
A check by NAN on activities at LASUTH showed full compliance with the strike directive as resident doctors stayed away from work.
Many new patients and outpatients who came to the hospital were stranded as only senior physicians and nurses attended to some patients.
Some consultants who provided skeletal services at the tertiary hospital and pleaded anonymity complained of being overwhelmed with the workload.
Speaking on the issue, Dr Oluwajimi Sodipo, Chairman, Medical Guild, noted that full medical services could not be rendered due to the impact of the strike, acknowledging that consultants were overwhelmed.
“The consultants are definitely overwhelmed because the resident doctors play a critical role in rendering health services.
“It is impossible to render full services because the backbone of every hospital, especially the tertiary centres, are the resident doctors and even in the ratio, we have fewer consultants to resident doctors.
“So, we have one consultant to about four senior residents and it’s impossible for consultants to do the work alone,” he said.
Sodipo appealed to the government to dialogue and acquiesce to the demands of the residents’ doctors toward enhancing quality healthcare services delivery in the state. (NAN) (nannews.ng)
Strike: ATBU Teaching Hospital suspends treatment of non emergency cases – Official
By Auwalu Birnin Kudu
Bauchi 3, Aug. 2021 (NAN) The management of the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa Teaching Hospital, Bauchi, says it has stopped all non emergency surgeries pending the suspension of the strike embarked by the resident doctors in the country.
Dr Saidu Kadas, Chairman Medical Advisory Committee (CMAC) of the facility, made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), on Tuesday in Bauchi.
Kadas said the hospital has devised a means to attend to emergencies in its various units such as the Trauma Centre, Delivery suit, Emergency Maternity, Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and Pediatric emergency.
He said that the units were attending to patients to mitigate the effects of the nationwide strike.
The CMAC said that the authorities were doing their best towards resolving the situation, adding that Federal Government was making efforts towards addressing the problem.
Also commenting, Dr Mohammed Algazali, President, Resident Doctors Association (NARD), said the strike was necessitated by the inability of the government to implement its agreement with the association.
Algarzali said that among other things contained in the agreement were the issue of migration of resident doctors into Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS).
This, he said, resulted to the removal of officer’s salary from the scheme of service and delayed payment.
“Another reason for the strike was nonpayment of 2014 and 2015 arrears of the National Minimu Wage.
“Other factors are the delay payment of the Medical Residency Training Fund (MRTF), non payment of the Death in Service Benefits (DSB) of the affected doctors to their families.
“Only one of the 19 doctors who deserve to benefit from DSB was paid.
“Other reasons for the action are poor emoluments, infrastructure and insecurity in some of our hospitals and non review of hazard allowance,” he said.
According to him, medical services at the ATBU Hospital are being manned by members of the Medical and Dental Consultants Association of Nigeria (MDCAN), as 150 resident doctors joined the strike.
A NAN correspondent who monitored the strike reports that nurses and Consultant Physicians were providing skeletal services at the hospital.
Hajiya Amina Shehu, a patient relative, said the strike had affected healthcare service delivery and urged the authorities to resolve the industrial crisis to enable them get access to quality medical care. (NAN