By Esenvosa Izah
Lagos – The National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD), Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), Ikeja, says doctors are working despite the ongoing strike by the Joint Health Sector Union (JOHESU).
Its president, Dr Salami Ajibola, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday in Lagos that the doctors were working to ensure that the hospital is not grounded.
According to him, the doctors have put in place strategies including: measuring the vitals of patients and using plain sheets for recording purposes.
“LASUTH is working as much as possible; we may not be able to run a full complement of services, but we are trying as much as possible to provide services.
“Although, we may not be able to admit patients, anybody who comes as an emergency can be seen. We stabilise them and make sure they are fit to go.
“The medical, surgical emergencies, and the clinics are running fully; any patient who has an appointment can come and be sure that the doctors will attend to them.
“Other departments including radiology where investigations are carried out is running. In the laboratory, the doctors are there to run investigations as much as possible.
“We hope to continue providing services pending when the strike will be called off, “ he said.
The president appealed to the health workers to return to work and save the lives of Lagosians.
According to him, the workers are part of the health team that provides healthcare to members of the public and ensure people get the care that they need to stay healthy.
“Let us continue to provide services as much as possible and that is why our members have been living up to expectation.
“We take our calls when we are on calls and run the clinics when we are supposed to, “ Ajibola said.
A NAN correspondent who visited the hospital observed that activities remained skeletal and the hospital compound was not as busy as it used to be before the strike.
The correspondent saw very few patients at the out- patients department, dental clinic, eye clinic and haematology department.
NAN reports that seats in the above mentioned-departments were usually filled with patients before the strike by JOHESU.
Some of the patients who spoke to NAN appealed to the health workers to resume work and assist the doctors.
A patient, Mr Adewale Ogun, expressed his sympathy for the doctors saying they had been overstretched by works without assistance from other workers.
Ogun said: “When I came into the hospital, l did not see any other staff apart from the few doctors who attended to me.
“Indeed, l was attended to, but l am in sympathy with them; so, I want government to hasten action on the request by the workers,’’ he said.
Another patient, Mrs Patricia Udeme, who brought her son on emergency, said that the doctors attended to her son.
Udeme, however, said that her son would not be place on admission because there would be no nurse to care for him.
“I am appealing to both the health workers and the government to consider the lives of the people.
“It is not healthy for workers not to be at their duty posts to attend to people who are sick and need attention.
“Healthcare is very necessary and we cannot deny that fact. Hence, the more reason why the government should do what is necessary to bring the workers back, “ she said.
Similarly, another patient, Mrs Biodun Alakija, said she could not afford the bill being charged patients by private hospitals and her only hope was the government-owned hospitals.
“The government owes its citizens the duty to provide them quality healthcare.
“ I have a right to healthcare. It is on this fact that l appeal to the government to listen to the cries of the people and ensure peace reigns in the health sector,’’ he said.