From Oluseye Ojo, Ibadan
In the past one month, healthcare delivery system in University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan, Oyo State, has been comatose.
The situation was arrived at because of the strike embarked on by Association of Resident Doctors (ARD) of the hospital since May 1, 2021.
Members of the association embarked on an indefinite strike because of non- payment of salaries of 215 resident doctors at UCH. As at May 1, when the strike commenced, the concerned doctors were owed four months salary by the Federal Government.
But what could have been responsible for the non-payment of salaries to the resident doctors? President of the association in UCH, Dr. Temitope Hussein, explained that the Federal Government initially owed the 215 resident doctors four months salaries, which was from January to April 2021.
He added that by the middle of May, the April salary was paid, remaining outstanding salaries of January, February and March, apart from May salary.
He said: “Our demands still remain payment of outstanding salaries of 215 doctors that have not been paid for four months. The salaries for January, February and March have not been paid to them. The Federal Government just paid April salary about two weeks ago. But the salaries of January to March are still outstanding, apart from this month – May that is ending now. We don’t even know when they are going to pay May salary.
“Also, the 215 doctors, who are all in UCH, have not been captured on the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) platform. They should be captured. The strike is indefinite, until our demands are met.”
Answering questions on how the April outstanding salary was paid when the 215 doctors have not been captured into IPPIS, Hussein explained: “They were captured on what they called Modified IPPIS System.
“Of course, it is because of capturing on IPPIS that has not happened, that they are owing them salaries. But the capturing is independent of the strike. It can be done during the strike. Once they capture us, we’ll resume to work.
“So, we are appealing to the Federal Government to do the needful. We have been on this for over a year. Though we are on strike, nobody likes the strike, neither the doctors nor the general population. Of course, we are hoping that if the Federal Government meets our demands, we can resume work immediately.”
Hussein stated further that the ARD has been meeting with the management of UCH in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, while the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) has also been meeting with the officials of the Federal Government on the issues.
“We have been meeting with management of UCH. It is a local problem in the national institution. We have been meeting with members of management and officials of the Federal Government, through NARD. But we have not made any headway as we speak. The way forward is for the Federal Government to pay us our outstanding salaries and also get us captured on the IPPIS.”
A visit to the teaching hospital by this reporter revealed that only consultants are working and only providing skeletal services and the hospital has not been admitting new patients.
At the Accident and Emergency Unit, some consultants and nurses were sighted, but all the beds in the outer part of the unit have been carefully packed on one side.
As gathered, people that had patients in the hospital at the time the strike commenced, evacuated them to hospitals owned by the Oyo State Government or individuals for medical attention.
A consultant, who did not want his name in print, told this reporter: “The reason the healthcare delivery system is in comatose in this teaching hospital at present is that resident doctors are on strike. We cannot really work when resident doctors are not working because they are the first set of doctors that do have first contact with patients, take their medical history and prepare then to meet consultants.
“We have many resident doctors attending to many patients coming to UCH. But how many consultants do we have in UCH? How many patients can the consultants attend to in a day? So, this is the situation we are in, and I can only appeal to the Federal Government, especially Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation to take urgent steps to pay outstanding salaries of the striking resident doctors and also expedite actions on getting them captured on the IPPIS,” he said.
When contacted, the Public Relations Officer of UCH, Mr. Toye Akinrinlola, simply said: “It is not the UCH that will arrange the IPPIS capturing. It is the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation.”