Taiwo Oluwadare, Ibadan

Resident doctors of Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH) Teaching Hospital, Ogbomoso, have called for the quick intervention of Oyo State Governor Seyi Makinde to save the hospital from imminent collapse.

The President of Association of Resident Doctors (ARD) of the hospital, Dr Ayobami Alabi, made this call penultimate week at this year’s Annual General Meeting of the state hospital.

The health institution has complained of a salary shortfall since the administration of former governor Abiola Ajimobi. The hospital management has also complained of degrading and obsolete equipment, a situation that has led to the loss of talented staff.

Speaking at the opening ceremony of the Annual General Meeting, the ARD President, who commended Governor Makinde for the prompt payment of salary by 25th of every month, urged the Governor to respond appropriately to their plight before their patience and endurance are eroded.

According to him, all is apparently not well with LAUTECH Teaching Hospital, saying the hospital cannot boast of fulfilling the dream of its founding fathers who set out to establish a world class hospital for teaching, research and services.

He said: “But today, what we have is a shadow of reality. Our hospital is poorly funded and this serve as precursor for many of our perennial problems. The remunerations of doctors are far from what the edit of the hospital gazette, we are reduced to second class citizens because we worked in STHI. When you talk today about corrected CONMESS of 2014, it’s like a new nomenclature to my member, our point of entry as a resident is outdated, and this poor salary structure make our hospital not attractive to doctors (both the trainers and resident doctors).

“We are still being owed 24 months’ salary arrears. The sponsorship for training has not been consistent, meagre and haphazard as against what in RTA of 2017 assented by the president of FRN.

“There is a severe shortage of doctors as well as many clinical staff and professional regularly exit the hospital. If this trend is sustained, this hospital may die and the health of many population that we serve will be in jeopardy. The specialised care that we offered will be missed, the training of specialists as well as medical doctors will be forgotten,” Alabi stated.

Alabi thanked the management team led by the CMD for their response to some of the hospital’s agitations and continuous engagement of ARD executive leadership.

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In his lecture, the guest lecturer, Professor Tanimola Akande said governments lack the political will to provide an enabling environment for effective  healthcare delivery.

According to him, tertiary healthcare delivery institutions particularly at the state level suffer so much undue political influence affecting its ability to deliver effective healthcare delivery.

He added that unlike the federal tertiary health institution, the level of autonomy of the institutions at the state level is very low saying at the institutional level, good clinical leadership and management skills is largely difficult with the political  interference in managing State Tertiary healthcare delivery Institutions (STHIs).

He maintained that poor funding has led to the exodus of Nigerian doctors out of the country to seek good working conditions, which has lead to the shortfall of doctors in Nigeria.

According to him, the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN) in 2018 reported that there are about 72,000 nationally registered Nigerian doctors, with only about 35,000 practicing in Nigeria, adding that with a population of about 200 million Nigerians, the implication is that the country has about one doctor per 5,700 compared with WHO recommended one doctor per 600 people.

He said in Nigeria, several challenges have been reported within the health sector, especially in training, funding, employment and deployment of the health workforce, while residency training placement remain a challenge.

He stressed that funding of tertiary health facilities owned by government has suffered significantly for decades.

He noted that few states allocate at least 15% of their budget to the health sector, while allocated fund are hardly released and not efficiently used.

He said this has seriously affected service delivery and residency training, gross pay parity between state tertiary health institutions personnel and their counterparts in the federal tertiary health institutions, saying this is a precursor to internal and external brain drain.