Doctors March Against Ondo State Government

Resident Doctors in Ondo State have embarked on a seven-day warning strike, to protest the non-payment of their salaries for 4 months. This is not the first that Resident Doctors in Ondo State have decried that they have been deprived of their rights by the Ondo State Government.

The Doctors of Ondo State University Medical Sciences Teaching Hospital, UNIMEDTH, Akure, had decided to go on strike due to the government’s delay in making their remunerations available despite their commitment to their jobs. They expressed their displeasure by marching to the office of the
Chief Medical Director to demand an explanation for the silence of government concerning their salaries.

The doctors noted that other health workers are having a better lease of life through the health management board, they have been deprived of their salaries. They threatened to embark on an indefinite strike next Monday
if their demands remain unattended to.

Dr. Taiwo Olagbe, Spokesperson of the aggrieved doctors pleaded with the state government to intervene at this point before the doctors permanently down tools.

In response, Dr. Adesina Adetan, the Physician in Charge pleaded with the protesting doctors to exercise patience. Dr. Adetan assured that the government is everything to make sure that their salaries are moved into the mainstream system.

It could be recalled that before the recent Ondo State Governorship elections, The Resident Doctors, under the aegis of the Ondo State Resident Doctors Association, Ondo State Chapter, embarked on an indefinite strike due to gross neglect of their members during the ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic as well as non-payment of their due remuneration.
They were joined by the National Association of Government General Medical and Dental Practitioners who also asserted that the Government refused to provide PPEs to its members thereby resulting in some of its members contracting the virus. These two medical pressure agencies also
decried the non-payment of their COVID-19 Hazard and Risk Allowances, which was meant to encourage their members to help fight against the virus and attend to patients in the state.

In the same vein, nurses at the State Mother and Child Hospital staged a peaceful protest by paralysing medical activities for a day in the facility. Their grouse with the State government was however that the government had not done enough contact tracing to combat the deadly pandemic.

The Ondo State Government responded to the strike action of medical doctors in June by throwing some of the members of the University Medical Teaching Hospital under the bus. The Government issued a director sacking resident doctors. The state also went ahead to suspend the residency training programme. Many doctors accused the State Government of ‘divide and rule’ strategies in other to undermine the unity of their demands.

By August, The state government appealed to the National Associaton of General Medical and Dental Practitioners (NAGGMDP) by attending to some of its demands. They also used the time to demand from the Akeredolu government the circulation, accountability and

When medical doctors embarked on a short strike in January, due to non-payment of three to six-month salaries, Dr. Oluwole Ige, the Chief Medical Director of Medical Sciences Teaching Hospital described the strike as an attempt to tarnish the image of the State Government and the hospital management. He claimed that contrary to the public outcry of doctors that they were owed six months’ salaries, the government only owed them one or two months’ salary. He attributed the non-payment of the salaries to some ‘teething problems’ in the structure of the medical establishment. The State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Wahab Adegbenro assured them they would receive payments in the same month.

Other states had had their recent baptism of strikes from the Resident Doctors, but the state governors of states like Lagos and Ogun State have been quick to engage the doctors, having in mind the fact that many public hospitals are understaffed. Unfortunately, it seems Ondo State has carved a niche for itself as one state with an unending trial of strikes, threats and marches by medical professionals.

Femi Morgan

Photo Credit: Premium Times

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