Doctors Protest Shortage of Manpower, Decry  FTHL Mgt Policies

Ibrahim Oyewale in Lokoja

Residents Doctors at the Federal Teaching Hospital Lokoja, (FTHL)  yesterday  protested  the  shortage of manpower and alleged obnoxious policies introduced by the management of the hospital led by Dr. Olatunde Alabi.

The residents doctors in  their number displayed placards with various inscriptions such as: ‘We want to work, not to work and die,’ Don’t kill us,  Stop using no work no pay to threaten us,’ Federal Teaching Hospital Lokoja doctors are dying help,” give us call meals,’ end casualisation of doctors”Federal Government, Mr President, come to our aide, among others.

The Association of Resident Doctors , Federal Teaching Hospital Lokoja protested round the hospital premises to register their grievances against the management of the hospital.

Addressing journalists, some of the protesting doctors who preferred anonymity for fear   of victimisation, noted that their female colleagues have been loosing their pregnancies because of too much work load.

“The management of FTHL Lokoja has been very disappointing to us.  One of the issue we have been raising with them for over time is shortage of manpower. I want to put it on record that in 2020, we have about 222 resident doctors in this hospital.

“ For over four years now, many of them have moved outside the chores of this Country. Some moved to consultant cadre while others resigned and moved to other centres. We are now left with only 64 residents Doctors. The work load keeps on increasing on daily basis. We have told the management to employ but they keep on telling us that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has refuse to give him, (Chief Medical Director Federal Teaching Hospital Lokoja Dr Olatunde Alabi) waiver to employ.

“ So,   we keep asking him, why has Mr President not given the CMD waiver to employ new resident doctors in the hospital? We ask them if they can’t employ, why can’t they reduce the work load, they said no.  In this hospital, doctors are running 48 hours without call meal. There is one devilish platform call Gifnis. The platform is so devilish that when doctors are put on that platform, they are not having access to their minimum wage and arrears.

“ This platform is being used as an excuse to casualize doctors. You won’t imagine that at this age and time there will be hospitals that will employ doctors as locum. Locums are derogatory statement. They should not be used for doctors.

“ President Bola Ahmed Tinubu is trying to make the health sector to be the first in the whole world and some people are employing doctors under a gifnis platform which is devilish and they are calling them casuals. They keep recycling their monthly salary. It shouldn’t be.

“ We want an end to Gifnis platform for doctors in Federal Teaching Hospital Lokoja. We also want an end to the point where people will say they don’t have waiver to employ doctors. There should be speedy advertisement for doctors and all arrears of doctors in Federal Teaching Hospital Lokoja should be paid. We are patriotic. Every workers deserves his reward and wages.”

The Chairman, Nigeria Medical Association, (NMA) Kogi State  Dr Baoku Olusola, who joined the resident doctor’s to protest said” It is a sad day for us here in Kogi State. You can see that I am wearing black as much as all the doctors that are here. The doctors are angry and sad and of course in extension NMA is sad because of the event that is actually taking place in Federal Teaching Hospital Lokoja.

“We have been communicated three times in the last three months concerning the burning issues  in Federal Teaching Hospital Lokoja. We  have been hoping and praying the management of hospital would have found a middle ground in resolving all this issue.

“Yesterday was  labour day and the Senate Present Godswill Akpabio said President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has declared that no workers must be made to work under harsh, severe situations. So, we are expecting that the leadership and the management of Federal Teaching Hospital Lokoja will call this doctors who are patriotic enough to stay in this Country and do their work under very harsh condition, meet with them, listen to them and be able to solve their problems.

“People can not be on duty for 48 hours and there will be no food to eat. What of if they collapse? Somebody resuscitating another can collapse. So who will resuscitate who?  They are completely overworked . These doctors are fighting for their living wages. I can’t imagine that with all the things Mr President has put in place about workers, there are some doctors that are not getting 35,000 wage award, doctors are being casualized on a platform called GIFMIS and so many problems going on in this hospital.

“I am telling you that go and confirm, in FTHL, doctors are not getting their 35,000 wage award.  There are pile up of arrears for the past years that are not being paid to doctors. We are also aware that FTHL which has about 500 beds that runs on over 200 doctors before now runs 64 do doctors as resident doctors. That is a collapse of a system”

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