Doctors at the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology Teaching Hospital, Ogbomoso, Oyo State, Nigeria, began an industrial action on Monday, 8th May, 2023, over poor conditions of service. The industrial action was called by the hospital’s chapter of the Medical and Dental Association of Nigeria (MDCAN) and announced by its Chairman, Dr Ayobami Alabi and Secretary, Dr Taiwo Alatishe in a statement.
According to Dr Alabi, the decision was based on a congress resolution which arrived at the expiration of an ultimatum earlier issued. “We have critically observed the situation in the hospital, and there is no definite assurance that issues in contention would soon be resolved either partly or wholly,” added Dr Alatishe.
The MDCAN chapter in the hospital declared that it had made efforts in the past to safeguard the hospital from total collapse and to reposition it for better training, research, and services for which it was established. “The prescribed ratio of doctors expected to function in a tertiary hospital is already distorted and highly eroded by this shortfall, undermining quality training and service,” stated the MDCAN.
The association declared the continued non-payment of salaries of its members recently employed as unacceptable. It also decried the “delay and difficulty in payment of 2016 to 2017 salary arrears by the management.” Furthermore, the MDCAN noted the shortage of manpower across the different cadres of doctors, including consultants, specialists across different fields, resident doctors, specialists in training and house officers.
“The persistent inability of hospital management to employ doctors and other staff hinged on the excuse of the paucity of funds has led to a failure in expanding the scope of training and services,” said the MDCAN. The association also noted the decadence in infrastructure, equipment, and facilities, making the hospital operate below the optimal standard expected of a teaching hospital.
“We have been appealing to the hospital’s management for years regarding the poor conditions of service, including a lack of basic facilities like offices for consultants and non-response from management,” added the MDCAN. The association stressed that the withdrawal of service was done to safeguard the hospital from total collapse and to reposition it for better training, research, and services for which it was established.
“The board of the hospital failed to respond appropriately and satisfactorily to all these challenges over the years despite our various engagements, tolerance, and show of understanding. This treatment is anti-labour. It is also considered inhumane with the attending psychological and emotional trauma,” the MDCAN added.
“It is becoming impracticable for the hospital’s management to provide basic amenities for effective service delivery,” stated the association, which appealed to the public, traditional rulers, critical stakeholders, and the state government to come to the rescue of the teaching hospital to reposition it for better output.
The industrial action by the MDCAN chapter at Ladoke Akintola University of Technology Teaching Hospital, Ogbomoso, Oyo State, has sparked fears among patients who depend on the hospital for quality healthcare services. The hospital, which is one of the few tertiary health institutions in the state, caters to patients from all walks of life.
A patient at the hospital who spoke on the condition of anonymity expressed his concerns about the situation. “I have been receiving treatment at this hospital for months now, and I must say that the doctors and other health workers have been doing a great job. However, with this ongoing strike, I am afraid that the quality of healthcare services at this hospital will be affected,” he said.
The MDCAN appealed to the public, traditional rulers, critical stakeholders, and the state government to come to the rescue of the teaching hospital to reposition it for better output. They stated that the hospital was critical to the health and well-being of the people of Oyo State and its environs, and urged all concerned parties to prioritize the resolution of the issues at hand. The association expressed its willingness to continue engaging with the hospital management and the government towards finding lasting solutions to the challenges facing the hospital.