Sanwo-Olu flays warning strike by doctors, urges end
• Describes action unfair, opportunistic
• Guild says govt’s response attempt to berate members
Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, yesterday, described as unfair and opportunistic the decision by doctors in the state to go on strike. He urged them to call off their ongoing three-day warning strike, especially as their two months COVID-19 allowance arrears had been paid and other concerns being addressed.
Sanwo-Olu spoke at the commissioning of a 36-chamber morgue at Infections Disease Centre, Yaba, stating that the crisis was due to communication breakdown and that he had expected that the strike would not go on, as he had engaged the medical body and promised to attend to all the issues.
The governor, who said he was not upset by the warning strike, said he had been extremely supportive of health workers being mindful of the extreme sacrifices that healthcare professionals are demonstrating in the COVID-19 response.
“We are currently rotating our health workers who are engaged in providing care at the isolation facilities. They are not being dismissed; this is wrong information. Healthcare professionals are returning to their primary posting for the following reasons: to reduce fatigue and burnout among health workers, build capacity for treatment of COVID-19 across the health workforce and as well ensure that as many health workers as possible benefit from the additional allowances.”
The governor said he introduced the COVID-19 allowance for frontline health workers after increasing their hazard allowance by 400 per cent, adding: “This was put in place before any other state in Nigeria with payments as high as N672,000 per month in addition to their normal remuneration packages for each cadre, which represents financial incentives over and above that paid their federal counterparts.
“In fact, where discrepancies exist between federal and state allowances, Lagos State has paid the difference to ensure parity. Payments for March and April were made on time to ensure uniformity and accuracy of the allowances and due diligence measures had to be put in place before subsequent month’s payments were approved. As we speak, these payments have been approved and being received by the workforce.
The governor also said that a separate isolation centre had been created for health workers who test positive for COVID-19 in Agidingbi, adding that aside the global insurance policy the state has for health workers, agreements have been reached to build additional quarters for them.
However, the Medical Guild condemned the response of the state government on the strike, saying that it was an attempt to paint the medical personnel as being unprofessional and casting untrue impression on their action.
In a statement signed by its Chairman, Dr. Oluwajimi Sodipo and Secretary, Dr. Ismail Ajibowo, the association noted that it attempted all within its powers to prevent the strike by drawing the attention of the government that more than 200 medical doctors who are members of the Guild had been infected with COVID-19.
It said its principal objective was to get the necessary attention of the governor to resolve the challenges affecting their safety and welfare in order to continue the peaceful harmonious relationship with government for the delivery of qualitative healthcare services.
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