Resident doctors at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), Ikeja, on Wednesday began their three days warning strike, demanding recruitment of more doctors.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the doctors under the aegis of the Association of Resident Doctors in LASUTH (ARD) had on September 2 directed members to embark on the warning strike.
This followed what the association described as acute shortage of resident doctors and house officers in the teaching hospital.
NAN reports that skeletal services were going on in some of the clinics visited at the hospital.
At the Dental Centre, Haematology Clinic and Surgical Outpatient Department, consultants and other categories of health workers, including nurses, pharmacists, laboratory technicians and cleaners were seen attending to patients.
Commenting, Ibrahim Ogunbukola, the acting president of the association, said that emergency cases would be attended to during the warning strike to stabilise the patients before referring them to the general hospitals.
According to him, we will be doing this because the strike is just a local one.
Mr Ogunbukola urged the public to bear with the doctors, saying that the strike was in the best interest of the public.
“The strike is not about the doctors; it is about the public; it is about the delivery of good healthcare system to people of Lagos.
“If more resident doctors and house officers are employed, we believe that the long waiting hours at the hospital will be reduced drastically.
“We believe that patients that are for elective surgeries will be attended to frequently and regularly, thus ending long waiting lists.
“All other hospitals in Lagos, including primary health centres are actively working.
“But for now, all our clinics are closed,” he said.
Mr Ogunbukola said that if after the expiration of the warning strike and the state government failed to meet the doctors’ demands, they would commence an indefinite strike.
He said that the state Commissioner for Health, Jide Idris, met with the association on Tuesday, assuring them that an approval would be obtained from the government.
“Our members took the decision at a congress and our congress has not reconvened to decide otherwise.
“If this has been done earlier, this strike would have been shelved.
“We are not happy going on strike, but we have been pushed to the wall,’’ the association president said.
Mr Idris had urged the doctors to consider the plights of the masses who always bear the burden of such actions.
He said: “There were plans by the state government to employ more house officers and resident doctors.
“We have started that already.
“If you will recall that the Lagos State Health Service Commission care facilities have an approval to recruit more house officers and we are working on the other approval for the teaching hospitals.
“So, we are aware of the agitations and we are working seriously on how to address the issue.
“I appeal to the doctors to shelve their strike in the interest of the people.’’ (NAN)