Kogi doctors speak out against low pay, unsafe working conditions, and a lack of staff
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Kogi doctors speak out against low pay, unsafe working conditions, and a lack of staff

Federal Teaching institution Lokoja (FTHL) resident doctors staged a protest on Thursday against what they called the administration’s “obnoxious policies” and a lack of staff.

The institution is headed by Dr. Olatunde Alabi.

A number of statements were displayed on the placards carried by the doctors who were protesting.

These included:

“We want to work, not to work and die,” “Federal Teaching Hospital Lokoja doctors are dying help,” “give us call meals,” “end casualization of doctors,” “Federal Government, Mr. President, come to our aide,” and many more.

The Resident Doctors staged a demonstration outside the hospital to voice their dissatisfaction with the administration.

Protesting doctors who did not want their identities published out of fear of retaliation told reporters that their female colleagues have been miscarrying due to the excessive strain.

We are quite disappointed with the administration of Federal Teaching Hospital Lokoja. The lack of personnel is one of the concerns we have been bringing up with them on an ongoing basis.

This hospital had approximately 222 resident doctors in 2020, and I feel it’s important to mention that.

A large number of them have been living abroad for more than four years. While some quit and transferred to other centers, others joined the consultant cadre. Only sixty-four resident doctors remain. Every day brings a new mountain of work.

Dr. Olatunde Alabi, chief medical director of the Federal Teaching Hospital Lokoja, has been informed that he cannot be employed despite our repeated requests that he be granted a waiver by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

That’s why we won’t stop pressing the president:

why hasn’t he approved the CMD waiver so the hospital may hire more resident doctors? They refused to tell us why they couldn’t hire more people or lessen the burden.

The medical staff here goes 48 hours without eating a meal. One terrible platform goes by the name of Gifnis. Doctors who are placed on the platform do not have access to their minimum wage and arrears since the platform is so wicked.

Some people are trying to casualize doctors by using this platform. You wouldn’t think that hospitals would hire doctors on an as-needed basis in this day and age. A locum tenens is a pejorative term. It is not recommended that doctors utilize them.

In President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s efforts to make Nigeria’s healthcare system the best in the world, there are diabolical individuals who are hiring doctors on an as-needed basis (what President Tinubu calls “casuals”).

They continue to reinvest every monthly paycheck. It is unacceptable.

Federal Teaching Hospital Lokoja doctors are using the Gifnis platform, and we want that to stop. Having to claim you don’t have a waiver to hire doctors is something we’d like to see eliminated as well.

All doctors’ arrears at Federal Teaching Hospital Lokoja should be paid, and ads for doctors should be posted quickly. Our patriotism is unwavering. Wages and bonuses are due to all employees.

“It is a sad day for us here in Kogi State,” Dr. Baoku Olusola, Chairman of the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) in Kogi State, who joined the protest of the resident doctors, said. I am dressed in black, just like all the doctors here.

As a result of what is happening at Federal Teaching Hospital Lokoja, the doctors are both furious and heartbroken, and the NMA shares their sadness.

Over the past three months, there have been three separate communications with us regarding the urgent matters at Federal Teaching Hospital Lokoja.

The hospital administration has our deepest wishes that they have been able to reach a compromise and end this crisis.

On Labor Day, yesterday, Senate Present Godswill Akpabio announced that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has decreed that no worker should be subjected to extreme or harsh working conditions. The administration and leadership of Federal Teaching Hospital Lokoja should therefore summon these patriotic doctors who have stayed in the country despite the terrible working conditions, meet with them, listen to their concerns, and find solutions to their difficulties.

There is no way that people can stay on the job for 48 hours without eating. Imagine if they were to fall. Reviving someone else’s life can cause one to pass out. So, who is going to revive whom? Their workload is excessive.

Medical professionals are engaged in a struggle for a livable salary.

With all the labor protections that the president has instituted, it is incomprehensible that some doctors are still not receiving their 35,000 pay awards, that doctors are being treated casually on the GIFMIS platform, and that this hospital is experiencing so many problems.

You have my word that doctors in FTHL aren’t receiving their $35,000 salary reward; check it out for yourself. Medical professionals have not received payment for many years.

We are also cognizant of the fact that 64 resident doctors currently staff FTHL, a facility with around 500 beds and 200 active doctors. A system has collapsed in that case.

He urged President Ahmed Bola Tinubu and the federal government to respond immediately to the concerns voiced by the resident physicians at Lokoja’s Federal Teaching Hospital.

Things are progressing at a rate no one could have predicted. Calmness is on the horizon. It is imperative that the federal government takes swift action to resolve this issue before the system collapses or these doctors pass away one by one, he said.

The resident doctors have pledged to keep protesting until the hospital administration meets their requests.

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