The Association of Resident Doctors (ARD) at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) has hinted its plan on a fresh strike after that of the national body has been called off.
According to the President ARD LUTH, Dr Hassan Jimoh, LUTH doctors were planning to embark on a strike before the national strike was announced.
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LUTH, according to him, has many issues, some of which require the attention of the Ministry of health while others need to be addressed by the hospital management.
He said the welfare of LUTH doctors is so poor that they go in search of food while on duty while they also do not have any befitting place to rest when on call at night.
Jimoh said the hospital’s call room is in “deplorable, terrible state” which has forced many doctors to sleep in their vehicles when they are on call.
“Doctors who are on call stay at the hospital overnight to see patients and attend to emergencies, they are meant to be provided with call food so they will not abandon their duty post to seek for food late in the night.”
“All hospitals in Nigeria make provisions for call food for the Doctors but LUTH has stopped giving the food for more than 22 months, almost two years. a number of Doctors do not live within LUTH premises, so, they have to leave their work to fill their stomach. That is not acceptable.
“Why is it that only LUTH decides not to provide this food? We have had a dialogue for 22 months and there are no changes, so we have to strike to drive home our point.”
He said despite many discussions with the management, nothing meaningful has been achieved.
“We have had a dialogue with the management but they have not done anything about it. The only language the government and people in management positions understand is strike.”
“We also do not want to embark on strike because when we do, the patients suffer. No doctor wants to go on strike because of the passion we have for our patients, but when we have tried all other options and nothing seems to work, then we have no choice than to go on strike,” the resident doctor said.
Hassan complained that some of the issues bothering the federal hospital in the ongoing national strike include; shortage of staff, the medical residency training fund (MRTF) and COVID inducement allowance.
“In LUTH, what is peculiar to us is the shortage of staff. Though this is an age-long problem, it is taking its toll on our doctors. They have families but couldn’t go home due to the enormous work at hand.
“Apart from this, the medical residency training fund (MRTF), which ought to be paid every year to cater for part of the examination that resident’s go for, has not been paid.
“Residents will be going for their examination in September/October, yet they have not been given the money which we know has been a part of the supplementary budget, but we do not know the reason the money has not been disbursed.
“We also have an issue with COVID inducement allowance, it was paid to some but not all of our members got paid. LUTH management is not in charge of the payment, it ought to be done in Abuja by the FG, yet, we have not received payment. We also have some welfare issues.”