Obasanjo persuaded us to call off strike – doctors

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Dr. Lukman Ogunjimi, President, Association of Resident Doctors, University College Hospital, Ibadan

After 105 days of strike, resident doctors of the University College Hospital, Ibadan, returned to work on Monday after former President Olusegun Obasanjo had intervened.The President of the association in the UCH, Dr. Lukman Ogunjimi, who thanked the Central Council of Ibadan Indigenes for also intervening in the crisis, said Obasanjo invited all major players inthe crisis, including those from other affected teaching hospitals in the South-West, for a meeting on August 12, 2015 in Abeokuta, whereit was decided that the strike shouldbe suspended.He said clinical services in the UCH had been hampered by infrastructural collapse, like non-working patients’ elevators, with attending negative health implications for members of staff. Other services, like lack of laboratory materials and disposables, he said, were also there.He said, “The meeting was facilitated by the first Director of Administration in UCH, Doja Adewolu, who is an Egba High Chief. He was concerned that patients were suffering while the strike continued, just as we were concerned also. The President of the Association of Resident Doctors in the UCH; Lagos University Teaching Hospital; Yaba Psychiatric Hospital; Federal Medical Centre, Abeokuta; Medical and Dental Consultants Associationof Nigeria; medical elders and ChiefMedical Directors in all the hospitals were present at the meeting. The former president played a fatherly role and persuaded us to return to work while negotiation continues with thehospitals’ managements.”Ogunjimi said that at the meeting, the hospitals’ managements agreedthat there was a letter from the Ministry of Health concerning skipping and that after expressing commitment to honour it in the nextbudget, the doctors were compelledto return to work.“Our management has agreed to start working on our agitations locally while the 2016 budget wouldcapture the monetary aspect. A statement of fact, which UCH management did not deny, is that there was an increase of N940m in the personnel subvention of the hospital. Our stand is that this can be used to pay skipping allowance since payment of salary from personnel subvention can never be referred to as misappropriation, more importantly now that the permanent secretary in the health ministry has expressly reiterated the directive for skipping,” he added.

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