The Medical Guild, an association of doctors under the employment of the Lagos state government, says more than 200 doctors involved in the fight against COVID-19, have tested positive for the disease.
In a statement, Oluwajimi Sodipo and Ismail Ajibowo, chairman and secretary of the guild, charged the state government to be more committed to the welfare of health workers, especially those treating COVID-19 patients.
The guild, however, accused Lagos government of painting its members in a bad light over a three-day warning strike.
The association advised ministries and agencies of Lagos government “to imbibe spirit of engagement and negotiation to enable people of Lagos to enjoy uninterrupted healthcare services”.
It said since its inception in 1926, the guild has been at the forefront of innovative strides and collaborative efforts with the government on issues of health sector development and progress.
“The Guild attempted all within its powers to prevent the strike. We started by drawing the attention of the state government to the fact that more than 200 medical doctors, who are members of the Guild, have been infected with COVID-19,” the statement read.
“Many of them also infected their families with attendant short and long term complications. This is a testament to our desire to serve our patients and our calling.
“The Guild had also been at the forefront of advocating for priority testing for all healthcare workers and patients on admission in hospitals so as to upscale provision of safe medical services. These suggestions had been largely jettisoned until the declaration of strike.”
On issues raised about the wages, salaries and emoluments, the guild leaders said they were happy that the government agreed that their federal counterparts in the same state earn much more than doctors working with Lagos government.
“This situation has been going on for years without a definitive action from the state government to bridge the gaps,” the statement read.
“Apart from the fact that there are security implications of releasing remuneration of employees publicly, the Lagos State Government has maintained that they have no agreement with the COVID-19 volunteers at the isolation centres.
“Hence, the government has been paying any amount deemed fit, usually after agitations. The Federal Government on the other hand had earlier engaged the various medical/health associations in discussions and came up with a negotiated agreement.
“We expect the same to be done to our members in Lagos State, especially as we are the epicentre of the COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria.
“We assure that our principal objective is to get the necessary attention of Mr Governor to resolve these challenges in order to continue the peaceful harmonious relationship with the government for delivery of qualitative healthcare services to the populace with positive development in the health sector.
“We will continue to do all we can to deescalate the situation and continue discussion and negotiations with the government, especially at this time of COVID-19 pandemic.”
The guild leaders appreciated the efforts of the Babajide Sanwo-Olu and his wife; Hakeem Muri-Okunola, head of service; Rilwan Akiolu, oba of Lagos; and other well meaning Nigerians that had intervened toward resolving the issues.
With over 12,500 COVID-19 cases, Lagos is the epicenter of the disease in Nigeria.