RESIDENT doctors at Ladoke Akintola University Teaching Hospital (LAUTECH) in Osogbo, the Osun State capital have, for the fourth time in this year, embarked on a strike action over the non-payment of arrears of their monetized entitlements.
According to a statement from the striking doctors at the weekend, the decision to go on strike was taken at a meeting held on December 23, 2008.
The President, Association of Resident Doctors of LAUTECH, Dr. Rotimi Oluyombo and Dr. Tokunbo Olajumoke, Secretary-General in the statement disclosed that despite the inclusion of the vote for the settlement of the arrears in the 2006 and 2007 supplementary budgets of the Oyo State Government, the hospital management had not collected the money.
The resident doctors at LAUTECH had first embarked on strike action on October 9, but had to suspend the action due to intervention of the hospital management, the Medical Elders’ Forum and the state branch of the Nigerian Medical Association, who promised to ensure that the arrears were paid before the end of December.
The management, according to the statement, reneged on the promise and another commitment to ensure that salaries were paid on time. It further disclosed that the failure of the hospital authority to fulfill its promise necessitated their decision to resume the industrial action.
OSUN DEFENDER investigations at the hospital showed that activities were at the lowest ebb as doctors were not in any of the departments, while patients were being attended to by nurses.
A nurse, who spoke with the medium under anonymity, said that the Oyo State Governor Adebayo Alao-Akala was not committed to the welfare of the striking doctors, adding that the last time that the doctors and nurses were on strike, they had to resume out of passion for the patients not because their demands were met. The nurse added that the governor was alleged to have said that he would never negotiate with the striking workers until they get back to work.
OSUN DEFENDER gathered that Alao-Akala had a hidden agenda as the governor is already building a new teaching hospital in Ogbomosho after the completion of the state hospital in his home town.
According to the source, patients in the hospital would definitely have tough time ahead, since the resident doctors are adamant at ensuring that their monetized arrears are paid before calling off the strike.
The last industrial action by the doctors put pressure on the already over-stretched facilities at the state hospital and the Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospital (OAUTH) as patients were transferred to the hospitals due to non-availability of medical personnel to attend to them.
“It is very sad that the people have to suffer due to the strike, but it seems to be the only way. I mean the only language the government understands, so, the doctors have no option.
“We, nurses, were treated same way; we suspended our strike because of promises and now we are at the receiving end”, added the source.
By SHINA ABUBAKAR