Scores of Ogun State doctors under the banner of Nigeria Medical Association, NMA, on Wednesday occupied the governor’s office in Abeokuta to protest the ‘unfulfilled promises’ Governor Ibikunle Amosun made to the health sector.
The doctors carried placards with inscriptions such as ‘We need standard healthcare sector’, ‘Fulfil your promise of quality healthcare’, ‘Doctors are dying of work overload’, and ‘Governor Amosun Bring back our Interns and Health NYSC health workers’.
The protesters waited at the gate for the governor, insisting that they would not leave until he addresses them.
They also embarked on solidarity songs, as well as mock medical consultation of patients in front of the governor’s office
The chairman of the association, Abayomi Olajide, who led his colleagues on the protest, said they took the step to avoid embarking on strike if the government does the needful.
They alleged that the governor has reneged in his electoral promises in the healthcare sector. They listed the areas where the administration has failed as manpower capacity building, recruitment of doctors and other health workers, infrastructural development and provision of adequate welfare for staff.
“The gross shortage of medical personnel/health workers in the local government areas and all health institutions under the Hospital Management Board, this portends great danger for the state,” Mr. Olajide stated
The Ogun doctors said the Federal Medical Centre, Abeokuta has more specialists and medical officers than the Ogun State Hospitals Management Board, under whom all the state employed doctors are.
“The level of infrastructural decay ranging from old dilapidated structures, obsolete equipment, inadequate security, poor drug supply chains to mention a few. There is no single CT scan, Magnetic Resonance Imaging(MRI) machine owned by the state. It negates the Ogun standards we all clamour for.
“Non-payment of corrected consolidated Medical Salary Scale as obtainable in other South-Western states and federal health institution as a way of stemming the tides of internal brain drain in the state’
“Non-recruitment of House Officers for the compulsory internship in the last three years but rather taking of such young doctors on supernumerary basis does not speak well of your government. As an extension, NYSC doctors are not being deployed into the state especially our rural areas,” the protester said.
However, after about one hour of their protest, the Secretary to the State Government, Taiwo Adeoluwa, attended to the protesters on behalf of the governor, who was not in the office.
He admitted that the state government had failed the health sector and that the protesters have a genuine cause.
He promised that government would improve on the lapses.
“We are not where we should be, I agreed with you. Your protest is to draw our attention to what yet to be done. I know almost everything you said are correct,” Mr. Adeoluwa said.
“On infrastructure decay, it is true. We know there are lot of things to be done in health sector. We don’t derive joy in telling lies, but for constraint of cash, we still have some challenges. Give us six weeks we shall look into all these. We want to assure that we are partners.
Mr. Adeoluwa told the protesters that he would deliver their letter to Mr. Amosun
The protesters later took their grievances to the State House of Assembly, but the speaker and his colleagues were not available. The protest letter was received by the Clerk of the House, Olanrewaju Bisiriyu, for onward transmission to the assembly.