By Leshi Adebayo
The Lagos state Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi disclosed on Tuesday that the resident doctors in the state embarked on the said strike with their national association in solidarity .
In his words, “If you notice, the strike has been called by the national association, and each state association is compelled to comply irrespective of what is happening in their respective states. In Lagos States, we take the medical fraternity very seriously. We’ve tried to address all the issues.
Also, he said, “Lagos is doing quite well in terms of meeting the demands of our colleagues, but we are part of a country. The doctors in Lagos are out on strike in sympathy with their national association and that is their right to do that, but we are doing our best and the governor is very serious about the situation. We are doing our best always, not because of the strike; we’ve always been engaging with medical associations. We are sympathetic to their cause, their grievances and we are addressing them one by one.”
On the other hand, President of the Association of Resident Doctors, Lagos State University Teaching Hospital chapter, Dr Azeez Ojekunle encouraged the Lagos State Government to meet the demands of the striking doctors.
In an interview with the press on Wednesday, The ARD LASUTH President disagreed with the Commissioner, citing that there were some outstanding issues that the state government left unattended to.
He said, “The Commissioner is wrong, if there should be any part of solidarity, it will be the other way round, the national paying solidarity with us in Lagos State. One of the issues that triggered this strike is a circular emanating from the state government approving the removal of house officers and NYSC doctors from the scheme of service. Although the state referred to a circular from the Federal Government, they have, however, gone ahead to fast-track the approval.
He continued, “As it stands, we have many issues here in Lagos State aside from this issue of circular. We are yet to have the Medical Residency Training Fund Act implemented. Although, the state government has made some commitments in this regard, the end product is what is important,” Ojekunle said.
He complained about the shortage of resident doctors at LASUTH, citing that many young doctors fled the state in search of greener pastures abroad. In his words, “There is continuous massive brain drain which is affecting and causing acute shortage of manpower in the hospital. Right now, we have a deficit of over 150 residents and house officers that need to be recruited to be able to have a commensurate figure with the doctor-to-patient ratio. We need more hands; many of our colleagues are leaving the country.”
“Ideally, we should have one consultant to three resident doctors as stipulated by training colleges. Right now, we have about 150 consultants in LASUTH, we should have 450 resident doctors, but we have just 312, President Azeez Ojekunle said.