Strike continues till our demands are met — NARD
By Chioma Obinna and Gabriel Olawale
Patients seeking healthcare services in different public-owned hospitals in Lagos on Monday were left stranded as members of the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors, NARD made good their threat to embark on a nationwide indefinite strike.
Resident doctors had Friday declared an indefinite strike following government failure to meet their demands after the expiration of 21 days ultimatum.
When Vanguard visited some of the public-owned hospitals in Lagos, although some doctors, especially consultants were seen offering skeletal services, the patients who turned up in large numbers were turned back as a result of the strike which was called over non-payment of life insurance, and other allowances.
Many patients who spoke to Vanguard at various hospitals in Lagos described the development as an act of wickedness on the part of government and striking doctors,
From the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, LUTH, National Orthopaedic Hospital, Igbobi, and Federal Medical Centre, Ebute Metta, Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, LASUTH, the situation was the same. Patients were left unattended. Only a few consultants and some managerial health workers were seen attending to patients.
At the Federal Medical Centre Ebute-Metta, Lagos, many of the patients were disappointed as they were turned back at the gate claiming that the strike drastically affected the capacity of the hospital to provide health services.
Further findings by Vanguard revealed that the hospital was only able to render skeletal services at the Accident and Emergency Department of the health facility while few patients were still attended to in the wards.
Few of the patients that were attended to, was forced to register under emergency.
Speaking with our correspondent at the FMC, Ebutte Metta, Mr Kunle Ademola said that the recurrent strike is very disappointing as it did not in any way helpful for patient’s quick recovery.
“This recurrent strike is very frustrating. The last time I came, they went on strike for some weeks before they called it off. Now, they have embarked on another strike. I hope they will reach a better agreement on time. Since the service I required was not an emergency I was told to come back. When will I come back? They can’t say.”
Some patients also lamented over the waiting hours.
“I came to the hospital as early as 8 am but nobody attended to me, around 10 am, one nurse, approached us and told us to wait until the consultant comes but if we cannot wait we should go. It was around 1 pm before they eventually attended to me. This process doesn’t take more than an hour before the strike.” said Mrs Titilayo Adeola
Reacting to the development, President, ARD- LUTH, Dr Jolayemi Judith said that over 400 resident doctors in the hospital are fully in compliance with the national directive as regard the strike.
“None of our members is going to render any service in whatever form. We appeal to the patients to bear with us while calling on the federal government to do the needful and move the nation’s healthcare forward. ”
Her counterpart at the Federal Medical Centre, Ebutte Metta, Dr. Ayo Sowade said their members were complying with the national directive to embark on strike.
“Our members are in three different departments in this hospital and we have joined the nationwide strike called by the national body of our association. We are not ready to render any skeletal services; we are complying fully with the strike until we hear any further instruction from the national body.”
When Vanguard contacted the National President of NARD, Dr Aliyu Sokomade said strike continues until their demands are met.
According to him, the Federal government has failed to contact or meet with them over the strike three days after the issued the warning for a nationwide strike.
The doctors are demanding for group life insurance and death in service benefits for all health workers, payment of the Medical Residency Training funding to all her members as approved in the revised 2020 budget,
Other demands include; the provision of genuine Group life insurance and death in service benefits for all health workers, payment of the outstanding April/May and June COVID-19 inducement allowance to all health workers, determination of the revised hazard allowance for all health workers as agreed in previous meetings with relevant stakeholders.