The industrial action embarked upon on Wednesday, October 2, 2013, by National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) is gradually inching to a very deadly dimension.
ENCOMIUM Weekly’s checks revealed that Lagos State chapter of the association has joined their colleagues nationwide in the ongoing strike. When ENCOMIUM Weekly visited Ikeja General Hospital on Thursday, October 3, 2013, the environment was not as busy and crowded as it used to be. Some doctors were seen clustering in groups to discuss the move by NARD. Patients were still going about with their cards, looking for the appropriate quarters to direct their inquiries.
However, some doctors, most especially consultants, were the ones attending to patients, while resident doctors were absent at their duty posts. Although, some came on call, attended to one or two patients and left to join their colleagues.
The atmosphere at Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Idi Araba, was also that of calm and serenity. Only consultants were attending to patients, resident doctors were conspicuously absent. Patients who were not being attended to were already seeking alternatives.
ENCOMIUM Weekly spoke with some patients at both LUTH and LASUTH.
MRS. ANIMASHAUN (LASUTH)
I have been here with my son since morning. They said a consultant will attend to us. I pray they come on time. Thank God, my son’s case is not a serious one. I am appealing to government to meet the demands of doctors so that we wouldn’t suffer.
BIOLA ABIONA (LASUTH)
I have to take my mother to a small private hospital. I am tired of waiting for consultants that they said will attend to us.
KEHINDE ASAOLU (LASUTH)
I just said I should come here. I was told that doctors are on strike but they will still attend to us. I have been here for more than five hours, nobody has attended to us.
ISRAEL ADENIYI (LASUTH)
I have been attended to but I can’t say if it was a consultant or resident doctor that did that. I was given a list of medication to buy for my father. He is the one I brought here.
ADELEYE ADEOLA (LUTH)
My wife is in labour. There are some nurses with her. I don’t know if any doctor will attend to her. I pray all goes well with the delivery.
CYNTHIA LAWSON (LUTH)
We have not been attended to. I brought my son here around 9am, we are still here four hours later. They said consultants are already attending to people.
DONALD NWOSU (LUTH)
I heard doctors are on strike. I am just waiting to see what will happen. Going to a private hospital will be too costly for me. I pray they attend to us.
EDMOND EKAETTE (LUTH)
What I came for was a minor case. A nurse attended to me, that is why I am leaving now. But a lot of people are still there waiting to be attended to. I learnt doctors are already on strike.
MRS. OLAJIRE FELICIA (Ifako Ijaiye Hospital)
I brought my baby for immunization and I have been attended to. I have seen some doctors around but I don’t know if they are consultants or not. They should please, call off this strike so that people will not start dying. Nigeria has gone through a lot in recent times.
‘We should ask govt why salaries have not been paid in 4 months!’
– DR FRANCIS FABIYILE, Lagos’ NMA President
We also spoke with President of Nigerian Medical Association, Lagos State chapter, Dr Francis Fabiyile. He corroborated what patients at the general hospital told ENCOMIUM Weekly.
“I don’t think I have any reaction. The only thing is to hear from the government that has not paid salary of its staffers for four months. We should ask them”.
When further probed on the way forward, he responded, “Government should put the necessary things in place and doctors will go back to work”.
Speaking also on the state of things in the general hospital. “Consultants are on ground. They are attending to patients since resident doctors are on strike”.
Resident doctors started an indefinite strike on Wednesday, October 2, 2013. The strike was embarked upon after the National Executive Council met at the National Hospital, Abuja.
The outcome of the meeting was the strike that kicked off on Wednesday, October 2, 2013. The association made the move as a result of the federal government’s failure to implement their agreement on integrated payroll and personal information system. Other reasons listed for the strike included government’s failure to produce a blue print on residency training in conjunction with the association and other stakeholders which would consist of all aspects of residency training, including local training modules, funding and overseas attachments.
They also added in dismay the failure of Enugu State Government to implement the Consolidated Medical Salary Structure (CONMESS) for their members in Enugu State University Teaching Hospital, in spite of the implementation of same to a select group in the same institution.
The association also wants all institutions already on the IPPIS platform to be retained and concerted efforts made to identify and correct factors impeding the successful implementation of IPPIS. They also added that no new health institution doctor should be recruited until all anomalies are fully resolved.
TABLE OF NARD’S DEMAND
* Payment of salary arrears
* Proper implementation of integrated payroll and personal information system
* Adequate funding of the residency training
* Implementation of Consolidated Medical Salary Structure for Enugu State University Teaching Hospital
-SHADE WESLEY-METIBOGUN, TINUOLA JOSEPH AND DUNNI KOSOKO