By Adeola Oladele, Ibadan
As the Association of Resident Doctors (ARD), University College Hospital, Ibadan branch called off its three-month old strike, the association has also called on President Muhammadu Buhari to commence investigation into the causes of strike in various teaching hospitals across the country.
The call was made on Monday by the President of the UCH Branch of the association, Dr. Luqman Ogunjimi, during a press conference, where the intention to call off the strike was officially announced.
WESTERN POST had exclusively reported that the strike would be called off following the intervention of former President Olusegun Obasanjo.
According to him, the call on the president became imperative in order to ensure that such strike actions are prevented in the future.
Dr. Ogunjimi also called on the Federal Government to conduct a forensic audit of the billions of naira yearly committed to various teaching hospitals as directed by the national body of the association.
“These funds, if recovered, may be used to bring back the reputation of these hospitals to international standard.
“The Association of Resident Doctors UCH embarked on the industrial strike action on 1st of May, 2015 on issues that border on improved clinical service delivery, implementation of the Federal Government’s directive of 2013 and conditions of service.
“On the 19th of December, 2013 the Federal Government through the office of the Head of Service of the Federation directed that all health workers including Medical Officers to skip a grade level with a cover circular from the Federal Ministry of Health. Though this is being implemented for other health workers at the University College Hospital, the hospital management has refused to implement this directive for medical officers,” he said.
Dr. Ogunjimi pointed out that the strike action was hinged on the deplorable and dilapidated call rooms, delay and non-payment of staff, lack of reagent and laboratory materials, disposables like gloves, among other issues.
He recalled that the strike was a product of failed negotiation of over 17 months prior to the commencement of the industrial action, stating that the hospital management remained defiant to their agitations over this injustices.
While expressing the association’s regret to the victims of the unavoidable impasse, Ogunjimi also urged the president to pay attention to the pension scheme for Resident Doctors and trace the yet-to-be accounted pension contribution deducted from the resident doctor’s salaries by the UCH management, especially between October 2013 and October 2014.
“A statement of fact the UCH management did not deny is that there was an increase of N940 million in the personnel subvention of the hospital. Our stand as a congress is that this can be used to pay skipping fund since payment of salary from personnel subvention can never be misappropriated,” he said, adding that it was their hope that the UCH management would keep its side of the bargain.
The ARD president used the opportunity to express appreciation to the elders in the field of Medicine and Dentistry and MDCAN (UCH Branch) for their intervention at various times while the strike lasted.
“We also appreciate the Central Council of Ibadan Indigenes, Olubadan-in-Council and former President Olusegun Obasanjo for intervening and ensuring that clinical services are restored for the benefit of the masses,” he added.