Afe Babalola decries doctors’ incessant strike, builds teaching hospital
PATIENTS are not the only casualties of the medical and health workers’ incessant strike in government teaching hospitals, now equally being threatened is the training of medical students of Afe Babalola University, Ado Ekiti (ABUAD) by the Federal Teaching Hospital, Ido Ekiti (FTHI).
Lamenting the situation yesterday, legal icon and founder of ABUAD, Afe Babalola (SAN), said that though his school spent over N2.5 billion upgrading the FETHI to a teaching hospital, the strike has breached their agreement, thereby forcing him to construct a brand new teaching hospital for ABUAD, which would be ready by next year.
Meanwhile, the Chief Medical Director (CMD) of the University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan, Prof. Temitope Alonge, yesterday appealed to the striking resident doctors at the hospital to end their four-month-old action, assuring that the hospital would meet their demands whenever fund is available.
ABUAD, a university for tomorrow Speaking in Ado Ekiti, Babalola, who was recently decorated as a Fellow of West African College of Medicine (WACN) in Accra, Ghana, last month, said that though the medical students were presently having their clinical training at FETHI, such would be better at ABUAD, where there would be no strike as in public institutions. The WACN award was in appreciation of ABUAD’s “modest efforts at bringing quality and functionality to the training of nurses.”
Babalola regretted that medical workers, who ought to always be on duty in view of their essential services, now prefer to sit out through industrial action, adding that he could no longer allow ABUAD medical students to continue there.
“After the attempt to use Ekiti State University Teaching Hospital (EKSUTH) as our teaching hospital was blocked, we moved to the Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Ido Ekiti, where we committed over N2.5 billion on infrastructures before it could be upgraded to teaching hospital status last year,” he said.
“We signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to use the place to train our students for 10 years. Among other things were considerations that the doctors would not go on strike. But they are on strike now.” According to him, this was among the reasons the university decided on its own teaching hospital to ensure there was no disruption in its programmes.
He described ABUAD as university of the future, which has achieved unprecedented feats in its five-year existence. Meanwhile, he urged graduate nurses to aspire to become specialist nursing practitioners rather than general nursing practitioners, just as the nursing professionals should “show more interest in political advocacy and participate more actively in political activities in their domain so that the nursing profession can have more influence, especially in matters that concern health policy.”
UCH appeals to striking doctors The doctors had told the hospital management to use the recent alleged N1 billion increase in personnel budget to meet some of their demands. Addressing newsmen on the development, however, Alonge said he would not want to do anything outside the law.
He urged the striking doctors to resume work in the interest of Nigerians seeking health care in the hospital, adding that CMDs from teaching hospitals and tertiary institutions across the country met last Thursday in Abuja with a view to resolving the issue, which is presently ongoing in over 40 teaching hospitals and medical centres across the country.
Alonge noted that the recent circular by the Acting Director, Budget Office of the Federation, dated July 23, 2015, and a disclosure by the permanent secretary of the Federal Ministry of Health in Lagos over the weekend confirmed that funds have not been released to meet the demands of the striking doctors.