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Normal activities return to general hospitals as govt. reinstates resident doctors

Following the decision by the Nigeria Medical Association to suspend its 55 day strike, federal and state hospitals are becoming a beehive of activities once again.

Nigeria DoctorsAggrieved patients and their relatives who had hitherto left the general hospitals out of frustration during the strike are beginning to return.

ENCOMIUM Weekly’s checks revealed that doctors have also returned to their duty posts since the association called off its strike.

Doctors at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) and Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) were seen going about their duties, attending to patients. A visit to the surgical emergency, pediatric wards and pharmacy revealed that normalcy is gradually creeping back into the system. The spaces that house care givers and relations of patients are gradually being filled up as well, while some other people are seen hanging around.

Activities at the hospitals were low key immediately the strike was called off but now, it is returning to its ever busy level.

The Nigerian Medical Association had on Sunday, August 24, 2014, suspended its 55 day strike. The association decided to listen to the voice of reason after President Jonathan promised to meet all their demands. Specifically, he promised to suspend the circular on suspension of residency training in the country.

Prior to the President’s promise, the Industrial Court on Monday, August 23, 2014, stopped Chief Medical Director of Federal Government hospitals from terminating the appointments of resident doctors. Justice Babatunde Adejumon, President of the National Industrial Court gave the order while ruling on an application filed by the registered trustees of the Nigeria Medical Association.

The Federal Government sacked 16,000 doctors on residency training after doctors embarked on a nationwide strike on Tuesday, July 1, 2014. The medical association set a 24 point demand to the Government when the strike began. Among their demands were the discontinuation of recognition of non medical doctors as directors and consultants title to any other health worker other than medical doctors. The appointment of surgeon general of the federation, payment of clinical duty and hazard allowances, withdrawal of the Central Bank of Nigeria’s circular on medical laboratory equipment.

ENCOMIUM Weekly sampled the opinion of relatives of patients in Lagos general hospitals about this development…

ADEOYE FUNKE

I brought my daughter for treatment when I heard that doctors have called off their strike, and she has been attended to. A doctor actually attended to us. Doctors are truly back to work. The government should please, continue to meet their demands so that poor people will not suffer.

AJIBIKE TAIWO

My brother has been attended to. I am going to get his medicine at the pharmacy. Services are better.

CHIBUZO AZUBIKE

yes,things are getting back to normal, they have started attending to us. I am waiting for our turn. Government should settle them once and for all.

IBRAHIM TAIWO

I brought my wife here, she has not been attended to. I believe they will attend to her when it is her turn. At least, I have seen one or two people who told me doctors attended to them

MOHAMMED AMINA

Yes, I was treated by a doctor. I came here because I heard they have called off the strike.

PETER OGHUCHE

I just left the place to get the medicine prescribed for me. I was attended to but I don’t know if it was a consultant or resident doctor that attended to me. Others are waiting to be attended to.

NGOZI IKE

I came for ante-natal care. I have been checked and paid for my medicine. A female doctor attended to me.

CHRIS OLANREWAJU

I was here during the strike. There was virtually no activity. I waited and waited to no avail. I was later told the consultant on duty cannot attend to everybody. I had to take my father to a private hospital. We came back when I heard doctors have called off their strike. Hopefully, we will be attended to.

Corroborating our findings, one-time chairman of Nigerian Medical Association, Lagos branch, Dr. Francis Fabiyile said, “Yes, resident doctors have resumed work, following the directive from NMA. I think there is a favourable response from the government about our requests.”

-SHADE WESLEY-METIBOGUN

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