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Doctors strike: Health workers render skeletal services in Lagos hospitals

12 July 2014, 07:54

Lagos - As the Nigerian Medical Association remains resolute on its strike, health workers in some government-owned hospitals in Lagos State on Friday rendered skeletal services.

The media reports that nurses, laboratory scientists, pharmacists and some other categories of workers were seen going about their duties.

The hospitals visited include the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), Ikeja, Surulere General Hospital, Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Idi Araba, and the Federal Neuro-Psychiatry Hospital, Yaba.

The other hospitals are the National Orthopaedic Hospital, Igbobi, and the Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Ebute Meta.

Correspondents of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) who visited some the hospitals report that the strike paralysed healthcare services as only few patients were seen in the various wards.

NAN check at Igbobi showed that only few patients were at the out-patients department and accident and emergency department of the hospital.

Nurses and pharmacists were attending to the few patients still in the hospital.

A senior officer at the hospital, who pleaded anonymity, told NAN that the hospital had not been admitting new patients.

The source said that consultants had not been attending to patients.

“Only few consultants had been coming, and they have not really been attending to patients.”

“Some consultants have not even been working since they opted out of the strike,” he said.

A patient on admission at the hospital, Amaka Umeh, said that no doctor had come to check her since the strike commenced.

“Nurses have been attending to us, but they have their limit.”

“They will always tell us that a doctor will come, but I have not seen any of them,” she said.

Umeh appealed to the Federal Government to meet the demands of the doctors to enable them to resume work and alleviate sufferings of patients.

Another patient at the out-patients department, Collins Osamena, claimed that Nigerian doctors lacked sympathy for patients.

“It is not fair that our doctors can decide to go on strike almost all the time without considering the health status of patients.”

“I am hoping that the government will find a way to resolve this strike in the health sector for the sake of patients.”

At the FMC, the situation was different as the Medical Director, Dr Yewande Jinadu, and three other doctors were on ground attending to the patients.

Some patients were seen receiving treatment at the out-patients department of the hospital.

Henry Etim, the Head of Corporate Affairs of the institution, said, “We are doing everything within our powers to see that our patients’ lives are not in danger as a result of the strike.”

At the neuro-psychiatric hospital, the Medical director, Dr Lawal Ramaan, said that he had been attending to the patients in critical conditions, with the assistance of some other senior management staff.

Ramaan said: “Skeletal works are going on; we are trying to run the clinic and also attend to the patients on admission.”

“At the emergency unit, we are also attending to those that have very bad cases, while those who we feel can go home are being discharged.”

Also, Dr Omotayo Ojo, a Consultant Neurosurgeon at LUTH, told NAN that skeletal services were being rendered by consultants and some other health workers.

A resident doctor at LASUTH, Dr Oluwajimi Shodipo, said that patients with emergency cases were being attended to by nurses and other health workers, while clinics were closed.

The NMA Publicity Secretary in Lagos, Dr Peter Ogunnubi, said, “Consultants are affiliates of NMA and have a right to decide to join NMA in the strike.

“NMA comprises all doctors in Nigeria with each belonging to other bodies such as the Association of Resident Doctors,” he said.

The National President, Medical and Dental Consultants’ Association of Nigeria, Dr Steven Oluwole, had in a statement on July 6 urged his members nationwide to ignore the ongoing strike by NMA.

Oluwole assured Nigerians of the association’s commitment to uninterrupted and high quality healthcare services in all public hospitals.

NAN reports that the NMA members had on July 1 began an indefinite nationwide strike in protest of Federal Government’s non-implementation of some agreements it had with the union.
Other demands include immediate appointment of a Surgeon-General of the Federation and increase of hazard allowance to N100, 000 monthly.

The doctors are also demanding reservation of the position of the chief medical director for medical doctors only.

-    NAN

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