By Oluwafunke Ishola
Lagos – The Medical Guild has urged the Lagos State Government to avert imminent crisis in the state’s health sector by expediting action on the recruitment of more doctors.
The Guild Chairman, Dr Oluwajimi Sodipo, made the appeal at a news conference on Tuesday in Lagos.
Medical Guild is the association of doctors under the employment of the Lagos State Government.
Sodipo said the shortage of doctors was getting worse in the state health sector, adding that an estimated 2,650 doctors currently in the state were insufficient to cater for no fewer than 20 million populace.
“This shortage has been caused by the non-replacement of medical doctors who have retired or resigned from the service.
“It is indeed worrisome as the Guild estimates that over 600 doctors had left the employment without being replaced.
“This had led to an astronomical increase in workload and pressure, especially when juxtaposed with the increase in scope of medical services and continuous increase in the population of the state.
“The attendant effects of these shortage have been severe, with an astronomical increase in work-related ailments among doctors, including mental and cardiovascular disease, and even sudden death,” he said.
Sodipo said that the shortage has devastating potential of affecting the quality of care being given to the patients.
Sodipo said the guild was aware of the governor’s approval of mass employment into the health and education sectors, adding that this had commenced in the education sector.
According to him, but sadly this has yet to be implemented in the health sector.
“The Medical Guild had at its last Annual General Meeting in December 2019, resolved to take all necessary measures to safeguard health of its members and ensure delivery of the highest level of healthcare to the citizens.
“The government had earlier assured us that 25 per cent of the total number of doctors needed will be employed by the end of December 2019, and another 25 per cent by end of January, however, that has not been done.
“A deadline of Jan. 31 has been agreed by members of the Guild to appraise the situation of the shortage, following which a decisive action will be taken on the issue,” he said.
The chairman, therefore, urged relevant agencies to expedite action on the employment of more doctors and other healthcare workers as approved by the state governor to avoid plunging the healthcare sector into crisis.
Sodipo also expressed concern about the increasing incidence of physical and verbal assault on doctors by patients, saying the guild believes that the issue was a fallout of shortage of doctors.
“The trend is taking a dangerous turn and can only lead to further resignation of doctors due to fear for their safety while at work.
“We believe that on no account should anybody be assaulted, more so, healthcare practitioners, including doctors,” he said.
According to him, the Guild expects the government to prosecute perpetrators of such abominable acts and stop the usual practice of accepting apologies as a deterrent to others.
In his remarks, Dr Babajide Saheed, a former Chairman of the Guild, appealed to the state government to fulfill its promises of employing and improving the welfare of healthcare workers.
Saheed said the statistics of one doctor seeing about 10,000 patients in the state was not acceptable, and would hinder quality healthcare delivery system in the state.
Also, Dr Olusanya Oluwole, Vice-Chairman of the Guild, said that urgent attention should be given to the issue.
Oluwole said that health of people was the wealth of the state.