19 December 2012

Nigeria: FMC Owo Faceoff Likely to Deepen

An ongoing tussle between resident doctors at Federal Medical Centre, Owo in Ondo state and the hospital management may not end until federal health authorities intervene, the National Association of Resident Doctors has warned.

It insists a likely presidential visit to Owo might be its "final attempt at dialogue" before it takes far-reaching decision on what it calls the hospital's management's "draconian means of dispute resolution."

The warning comes after several mediations by NARD, Nigerian Medical Association in Ondo as well as ministry officials failed to end the standoff.

NARD in talks with health minister Onyebuchi Chukwu complained that "many patients are dying daily because of this industrial faceoff."

It blamed the protracted crisis on the hospital's chief medical director Dr Omotosho.

"In the centre of this evil is the ego of a man who sees the residents as enemies he must fight to death," NARD president, Dr Lawal Ismail said.

Open war

The association claims Dr Omotosho, who heads the hospital, has "openly declared war" on resident doctors and vowed the strike "would continue until it consumes either the residents or himself in office."

"There are many instances of victimisation of these residents, and with a lot of comments credited to this medical director, one cannot but certainly conclude that our members are no longer safe with Dr Omotosho and the head of this centre."

Health minister Chukwu observed the ministry was looking into the crises and appealed that the residents consider the plight of patients caught in the industrial action.

He said doctors could not help their patients if they continued to stay off work, noting, "They should be available for the people whom they are actually there for. They are not there for any medical director.

"The most important reason why we exist is the patients, and if we have also declared war on the patients, it is not fair."

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