Saraki wants better working conditions after doctor died from ‘marathon’ shift
Former Senate President Abubakar Bukola Saraki on Thursday implored the government to improve the working conditions of healthcare practitioners across Nigeria.
Saraki this in reaction to the death of Dr. Umoh Michael after allegedly working for 72-hour marathon shift at Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Idi-Araba where he was a resident doctor.
LUTH management on Thursday denied the reports and said “the narrative of a 72 hours non-stop shift is false.”
However, Saraki said the issue of overworking doctors poses a risk to their physical and mental health and also jeopardizes the quality of care they can provide to patients.
“At this time, it is important that governments at all levels treat the working conditions of our healthcare practitioners as a priority,” Saraki said.
“If we need to address the shortage of doctors, let’s do that. If we need to improve their conditions, let’s find a way.”
Saraki said that last month when he met with the members of the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD), he was deeply troubled by the concerns they raised about the long and arduous hours and challenging work conditions that medical doctors face.
According to him, the health of our society depends on the strength of our healthcare system and that Dr. Umoh’s death should serve as a wake-up call to everyone.
The former governor of Kwara state also said that the country can no longer afford to treat the issue with laxity.
Dr. Michael died on Sunday, September 17 after allegedly working 72 hours straight. According to reports, Michael died during a church service at the United Evangelical Church.
Doctors under the aegis of the Association of Resident Doctors, LUTH chapter, in a letter addressed to the Chief Medical Director, LUTH, Prof. Wasiu Lanre Adeyemo, claimed that the young doctor was overworked.
They said Michael returned home at about 3:00 a.m. Sunday after a 72-hour shift in the hospital, adding that he had barely slept in their apartment before that day.
But LUTH denied their claim and explained that “the record from Neurosurgery unit shows that the last time he was on call was 13th and 14th September, 2023.
“He was not on call on the 15th, 16th and 17th (the day he died), contrary to the insinuations on social media. He was at home with his parents on Sept. 16 and Sept. 17.”
Prior to this time, the management said, he was on call on the Sept. 7 and Sept. 8.
”This shows that Dr Umoh was on call for a total number of four days in September, 2023.
“A delegation from LUTH visited the family on Wednesday to commiserate with the family and to get more details of the circumstances surrounding his death.
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