Patients Stranded In Ondo Public Hospitals As Doctors Strike Paralyse Health Services

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Patients seeking healthcare service in public hospitals in Ondo State have continued to lament as medical doctors continue their industrial action to press home their demands.

 

The ongoing strike has already paralysed activities at the University of Medical Sciences Teaching Hospital both in Ondo town and the state capital, Akure, the Federal Medical Centre in Owo including the General Hospitals in Ikare Akoko and Okitipupa. 

Our correspondent, who visited some of the public hospitals on Friday, observed that many sick patients were still hanging around the wards, hoping to be attended to by one or two of the striking medical doctors. 

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At the General Hospital in Ikare Akoko, many patients, who had no emergency cases, were disappointed as nurses turned them back following the strike action.  

Also, consultants and resident doctors were not available in most of the wards to attend to patients, who visited the hospital for treatment.

At the Ondo State Trauma and Surgical Centre, Ondo town, it was gathered that the few available patients were made to register under emergency while some senior health workers managed to attend to them.

A patient, Mrs Adebimbe Adegboyega, who brought her daughter to the UNIMEDTH in Akure for treatment, said she came based on a fixed appointment with a specialist doctor at the hospital.

She said, “I had an appointment with a medical doctor in the children ward but unfortunately we could not see her now because of the ongoing strike. 

“I have even pleaded with the nurses to help me with the doctor’s line but it is not going through and those here have asked me to leave the corridor, this is just unfair.”

Another patient, Mr Temitope Omoleye, who came for eye treatment at the University of Medical Sciences Teaching Hospital in Akure, said he was unaware that the ongoing strike also affected medical doctors at the state’s government hospitals. 

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He added that his younger brother, who was admitted at the government hospital had already been transferred to another hospital for further treatment as a result of the doctors’ strike.

Taiwo Olagbe, an executive member of the Association of Resident Doctors in the state, told our correspondent that medical doctors under the association were already complying with the national directive on the industrial action.

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Meanwhile, it was gathered that private hospitals in the state have been benefitting from the trend by recording more patients than usual.

Part of the demands of the striking doctors include the immediate implementation of the revised hazard allowance and payment of the COVID-19 inducement allowance as agreed by the government and health workers three months ago.

Other demands include the universal implementation of the Medical Residency Training Act in all federal and state hospitals and ensuring pay parity among doctors of equal cadre, provision of funding for Medical Residency Training in 2021 Appropriation Bill and payment of all arrears owed medical doctors in both federal and states tertiary institutions, arising from the consequential adjustment of the national minimum wage. 

The Nigerian Government, which had declared a ‘no work, no pay’ stance, has however, threatened to sack resident doctors participating in the strike after all negotiations failed.

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