By Ismaeel Uthman
THE industrial action embarked upon by the National Association of Resident Doctors across the teaching hospitals in Nigeria has been imposing stress on some standard state and private hospitals in the State of Osun, investigations have revealed.
Patients in the state, who are in need of quality medical treatment have resorted to seek healthcare in the available model hospitals in Osogbo, Ilesa and Ile-Ife.
Of the teaching hospitals in Osun, only the resident doctors of the Osun State University Teaching Hospital (formerly LAUTECH), were not on strike as at the time of filing this report yesterday.
Resident doctors in Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospitals Complex (OAUTHC) and its annex in Ilesa, Wesley Guild Hospital, were on strike.
OSUN DEFENDER gathered that the UNIOSUNTH’s resident doctors, while supporting the agitations and strike action of their union, found it difficult to join the industrial action because of the implementation of their new salary structure which was recently approved by Governor Adegboyega Oyetola.
Investigations by the medium revealed that there has been persistent influx of patients with ailments that need special attention in UNIOSUNTH, because of the industrial action that has paralysed healthcare delivery in Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospitals Complex, Ile-Ife and Wesley Guild Hospital, Ilesa.
Findings also revealed that patients who were originally visiting the OAUTHC and Wesley Guild Hospital for medical treatment were now visiting UNIOSUNTH, the Seventh Day Adventist Hospital, Ile-Ife and some private hospitals in Osogbo.
Also, the numbers of new patients in the hospitals have been increasing due to availability of quality healthcare delivery.
Investigations revealed that patients from neighbouring states constituted 21 per cent of those seeking medical attention in UNIOSUNTH, since the resident doctors embarked on the ongoing industrial action on August 2, 2021.
OSUN DEFENDER gathered that the development has been stressing the facilities in the UNIOSUNTH, as there are no more enough spaces for patients.
One of the resident doctors in the hospital, who spoke with the medium on condition of anonymity said: “As you can see, we are not on strike here; we are attending to our patients. This is not to say we are not in support of our union, but because of one reason or the other, we could not join the strike.
“Since the strike commenced early last month, we have been experiencing increment in the number of patients in UNIOSUNTH every day. It is like this is the only teaching hospital that is open for medical service in the state and patients from our neighbouring states also have confidence in our healthcare services.
“As I am talking to you, we don’t have enough bed spaces again. Go round the hospital and confirm for yourself. Our facilities are being overstressed. We hope and pray that a lasting solution is found to the industrial action.”
The medium gathered that some other patients have also been trooping the State Government Specialist Hospital, Asubiaro, Osogbo, for medical attention.
According to findings, majority of the patients, are those who could not afford the costs of medical services at UNIOSUNTH and standard private hospitals.
It was noted that the Trauma Centre of the hospital is always full of patients wanting to collect their cards to see a doctor or those that wish to register with the hospital afresh.
Also, the centre of the Osun Health Insurance Scheme (OHIS) in the hospital has been witnessing increment in the number of patients.
It was gathered that patients of Our Lady of Fatima Hospital, Jaleyemi, Osogbo, who registered with the OHIS had earlier been moved to the Government Specialist Hospital, a situation that has increased the number of patients to be attended to by the doctors.
OSUN DEFENDER visited the Seventh Day Adventist Hospital, Ile-Ife on Wednesday and discovered that patients had been thronging the hospital more than before.
Some of the patients, who spoke with the medium said they resorted to the hospital as an alternative to Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospitals Complex, which resident doctors were on strike.
Lamenting the high costs of medical service in the private hospital, the patients said they spend less at OAUTHC, praying the Federal Government to accede to the resident doctors’ requests for them to resume work on time.
A 38-year-old man, Mr. Samuel Ajayi, who brought his father to the hospital from Osogbo said: “We came here on Sunday to treat my dad. We had earlier gone to LAUTECH (UNIOSUNTH) but we discovered that a lot of patients were also there and the doctors might not attend to us on time. That is why we are here.
“Unlike LAUTECH, we spend more here. The people that you are seeing are also from Osogbo. All of us want quality medical services and the government is frustrating because if the resident doctors were not on strike, majority of the people here would have gone to OAUTHC.”
Speaking with OSUN DEFENDER in a telephone interview yesterday, the Public Relations Officer of the UNIOSUNTH, Mr Omotayo Ogunleye, confirmed the influx of patients to the hospital.
Ogunleye said: “It is true that there is influx of patients to our hospital because of the strike of the Resident Doctors. But I am happy to tell you that we have been managing the situation. The hospital is functioning well, and we have the capacity in terms of infrastructure and personnel. Our facilities are not overstressed now.”