The Association of Resident Doctors at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Idi-Araba, on Wednesday staged a peaceful protest as they commenced a two-day warning strike.
Newsmen report that the protest, over nonpayment of five months’ salary and other grievances, held within the hospital premises.
Some of the other demands include lack of resident doctors, lack of security and electricity within the premises at night and non-payment of residency training fees.
President, LUTH ARD, Dr. Kayode Makinde, said the association had, on several occasions, stepped into the role of the hospital’s management, which was not its duty.
Makinde said, “In some instances, we pay electricity bills of the hospital doctors’ lounge and other issues concerning the welfare of doctors.
“It is no longer news that the recent events at the LUTH portend a grave danger.
“For so long, we have remained calm, reasonable and understanding with a hospital management that had refused to be responsive to our yearnings.
“The question is, how difficult is it for a hospital that prides itself as one of the leading tertiary hospitals in Nigeria to address the yearnings of her doctors?
“We asked for a minimum requirement to ensure that we have some element of safety in our hospital environment, which is to light up the hospital, especially the dark portions.
“This means that our lives and safety do not matter to those at the helm of affairs.’’
According to him, the painful death of their “dear brother and colleague,” Dr. Stephen Urueye, is still very fresh in their memory.
“How do you explain to our family and loved ones that we provide care to the sick and are vulnerable that our life can be cut short, even in the line of duty due to inadequate security?
Makinde said the last time LUTH recruited doctors was in 2016, and this had resulted in an acute shortage of medical doctors of all cadres.
“Our members have gone for update courses and conferences, they have written examinations, yet no single exam and update fee has been paid on behalf of resident doctors since 2014.
“One then wonders how other teaching hospitals are able to offset some of these monies and LUTH keeps giving the same excuse of no money every year.
“We cannot be silenced, we cannot be subdued, we cannot be gagged, we will continue to ask the right questions and demand a better life for ourselves and others.
“After this two-day warning strike, (if there is still) no response from the management, we will go on indefinite strike,’’ he said.
Newsmen report that the protesting doctors displayed placards with various inscriptions including: “Enforce our security, we do not feel safe;” “LUTH is not safe for all;” “I have been working for four months without pay;” “Pay my salary;” “Light up LUTH;” and “LUTH management, stop spying on residents’ privacy,” among others.
When contacted, the Chairman of Medical Advisory Committee of LUTH, Prof. Olufemi Fasanmade, who spoke on behalf of the hospital’s management, said the ARD warning strike had nothing to do with salary.
“They decided to go on strike because some of their members were given query; the resident doctors do not want query to be served on their members or (for same to be) withdrawn if given.
“LUTH management is not spying on resident doctors because some of us have children in the association and we tend to see some of their conversations on WhatsApp group chat.
“Queries given to some of their members were as a result of what they said on their WhatsApp group chat such as malicious comments.
“The main reason why they are going on strike is to prevent discipline, so issue of non-payment of salaries is not true,’’ he said.
“LUTH management does not pay salaries, but it is being paid by Federal Government to the workers through Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System.
“I am not aware of anybody being owed up to five months’ salary; but I know of a month; and about security issue, we have adequate security and light everywhere.
“They should be aware that security is a joint responsibility of everybody,’’ Fasanmade said.