21 January 2013

Nigeria: Strike By UCH Resident Doctors Illegal - Alonge

Prof. Temitope Alonge, the Chief Medical Director of the University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan, on Monday declared the strike embarked upon by resident doctors in the institution as illegal.

He told journalists in Ibadan that the strike, which commenced on Monday, was illegal as UCH management was not informed of the industrial action by the Association of Resident Doctors (ARD) in the institution.

Giving a background on the industrial action, Alonge said a patient, Mr Kamorudeen Beyioku, was brought to the hospital on Saturday with a gun shot wound.

He said Beyioku, the Oyo State Vice Chairman of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), later died as a result of cardiac arrest following complications that arose during a second renal dialysis.

Alonge said that one of the resident doctors claimed that his T-shirt was torn by a mob made up of NURTW members who besieged the mortuary to claim the body of their late leader.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the resident doctors were protesting the lax security in the tertiary health facility.

Alonge, however, claimed that the strike had not disrupted the operations of the institution.

"The public should know that our business is going on as expected with no disruption of clinical care in UCH," Alonge said.

He said that the management was ready to address issues brought to it by the doctors to ensure that they returned to work.

Alonge assured the patients of the continuous provision of healthcare services in spite of the strike by the doctors.

Also speaking, Dr Uwom Eze, the consultant forensic pathologist who performed the autopsy on the deceased, said the mob invaded the hospital and became uncontrollable.

The pathologist said the unruly crowd wanted to have access to the corpse without following due process.

Eze, who said that he understood the plight of the doctors, noted that autopsy was risky, especially when a high profile individual was involved.

He appealed to the doctors to go back to work, adding that healthcare delivery should not be halted because of such incidents.

But the ARD President at UCH, Dr Babasanya Babatunde, said the strike by the doctors would last three days.

Briefing journalists in Ibadan, Babatunde said the industrial action was to protest the inadequate security for medical personnel in the health facility.

He said the strike was influenced by the beating of two doctors on Saturday by a mob made up of NURTW members.

Babatunde said the doctors narrowly escaped death by jumping out of the window of the mortuary where an autopsy was being conducted on the NURTW leader.

He said the NURTW members forcefully took the corpse of the deceased away, adding that this was not the first time such an incident was taking place at UCH.

"Last year, a man brandishing a gun assaulted a doctor while relatives of a patient also slapped a consultant among others, " he said.

Babatunde also said the issue of legality was not at stake as the congress of the ARD met on Sunday and decided to go on strike from Monday because the issue concerned the safety of medical personnel.

"We are not prepared to go into debate with management over whether our strike is legal or not.

" At the end of three days, we are prepared to sit with management and review the situation.

"We appeal to management to liaise with the state and federal government to ensure that adequate security is provided for us in carrying out our duties, " he added.

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