Doctors at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Idi-Araba, are not taking part in a nationwide strike embarked upon by public health workers, the president of the hospital’s Association of Resident Doctors, Moronkola Ramon, has said.
Mr. Ramon made the assertion in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, in Lagos on Monday.
Non-doctors under the aegis of the Joint Health Sector Union, JOHESU, had on November 12, 2014 embarked on indefinite strike to press its demands.
Their demands include the non-implementation of a welfare agreement with the Federal Government and recognition of the health workers as consultants within the hospital.
Mr. Ramon said “To set the record straight, doctors in LUTH, and other hospitals in Lagos and across the country are not on strike.
“We are always at our duty posts and have been taking our calls. We are committed to the emergence of an efficient and sustainable health system for the benefit of all Nigerians,” Mr. Ramon said.
“Our well documented willingness to bend over backwards to deliver healthcare in the face of sometimes, daunting challenges, is evident of this commitment to the wellbeing of Nigerians.”
He said though, the smooth operation of the hospital had been challenged by the absence of the striking allied health workers; the doctors were still performing their duties.
“Since the commencement of JOHESU strike, the power supply has become more unreliable; consumables and equipment were locked away by the striking workers.
“However, we have been able to keep the hospital running to the best of our ability.
“For instance, as a senior registrar in the cardiology unit, I know the consultants and residents in the unit attend to over 50 patients during our clinic which almost equals the number we usually see,” he said.
Mr. Ramon, however, complained that the striking health workers had been enjoying incentives which doctors were normally deprived of any time they embarked on strike.
“It is ironic that the striking JOHESU workers have been receiving incentives to continue their strike because they were paid December salaries well ahead of Christmas, while doctors in LUTH have not been paid.
“Perhaps, more perplexing is the fact that doctors in the University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan, have not received their November and December salaries.
“This unpalatable scenario is what is happening in other centres across the country.
“We see this paradox of no work with pay for JOHESU members, but work without pay for doctors as a grievous injustice,” he said.
Mr. Ramon appealed to the striking health workers to call off their strike for the sake of the wellbeing of Nigerians.
He urged the Federal Government to decisively tackle the challenges facing the nation’s health sector to end the serial and unnecessary disruption of health services in the government-owned hospitals.