The Association of Resident Doctors, University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital (UITH-ARD), Ilorin, on Wednesday began a three-day warning strike over alleged poor working condition in the institution.
Dr Badmus Habeeb, President of the association, said at a news conference in Ilorin that 25 doctors had so far contracted COVID-19 since the beginning of the second wave of the pandemic due to the situation.
The doctors carried placards with the various inscriptions including: “Stop Exposing Doctors to COVID-19”, among others to press home their demands at the press briefing.
Habeeb said that the association resorted to going on warning strike to draw the attention of the hospital management to their plights.
He said the warning strike was to also compel the management to provide adequate drugs and consumables to the hospital along with other demands.
According to him, the association has employed several channels of dialogue over the grievances with the management, but to no avail.
“The burden of these to our members have resulted to reduction in the quality and time dedicated to training resident doctors due to excessive work load, with little time for or energy left for academic and research works.
“There is increased cases of COVID-19 infections among resident doctors and house officers, as more than 12 resident doctors were confirmed positive in the last three weeks.
“We are compelled to take this action as a last resort in order to protect our members and other hospital staff, safeguard our patients and protect interest of the public.
“The strike is to also draw the attention of the management and well-meaning Nigerians to our sufferings and assist in ensuring that the needful is done,” he said.
Habeeb said the supply of Personal Protective Equipment had been irregular and grossly inadequate, resulting in high rate of COVID-19 infection amongst the doctors and other staff members.
“This has further worsened the existing manpower gap in the clinical area due to the indisposition of the affected staff.
“Hospital staff have resorted to reusing face masks at the risk of their health, families and patients,” he said.
Habeeb urged the hospital management to prevent relatives of COVID-19 patients from having easy access to the designated isolation areas, where he said they had physical contact with the patients.
He said the hospital management had not been maintaining a regular follow-up to identify members of staff, including resident doctors, who had tested positive to the virus.
When contacted, Mrs Olabisi Ajiboye, the Head of Corporate Affairs at UITH, did not pick her calls nor reply to the text messages sent to her.
Similarly, Dr Louis Odeigah, Chairman, Medical Advisory Committee (CMAC), said that he was not in a position to comment on the doctors’ grievances.