Workers of Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Idi-Araba, on Wednesday, staged a one-day peaceful protest demanding for improved condition of service and tools.
The workers are asking the management of the hospital to address their promotion arrears, shortage of staff and other rights.
The workers said the protest followed a directive from all their national bodies in Abuja to resolve the challenges LUTH facing the hospital.
The protest was led by the all the unions’ leaders in the LUTH, including the National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives and Association of Resident Doctors.
Others are the Medical and Health Workers’ Union, Joint Health Sector Unions and Senior Staff Association of Universities, Teaching Hospitals, Research Institutes and Associated Institutions.
However, the LUTH management ordered security officials to lock all conference rooms and closely monitor the protest.
The aggrieved workers were also seen singing and carrying placards around the premises peacefully.
Some of the placards read: “Federal Ministry of Health pay us our teaching allowance’’; “Stop stagnation’’; “Nurses are professionals that should be respected and not treated as slaves’’.
“Is LUTH truly a public hospital?”; “Pay our withheld salaries and allowances”; “Provide conducive working environment”, and “Put a stop to scale to scale promotion”.
NANNM Chairman, LUTH chapter, Mrs Yemisi Adelaja, told newsmen in Lagos that the protest was to draw Federal Government attention to the plight and suffering of all LUTH workers.
She said that all the unions in LUTH decided to hold a joint meeting and protest to be able to “speak with one voice and let the whole world know our challenges’’.
According to Adelaja, the deteriorating state of infrastructure and non-availability of adequate medical consumables are situations that have progressively gone worse in recent times.
She listed some of their demands to include discriminatory and selective implementation of policies by the federal ministry of health on career progression for nurses and midwives.
“Most of our health institutions today operate a nurse-patient ratio of one to 15 as against the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) recommendation of one to four.
“Inadequate manpower and dearth of highly skilled nurse specialists has greatly affected our clinical outputs and nurses’ health.
“If the workload is on the workers, it will definitely affect the patient’s health, because most times this affects the attitude of nurses due to pressure,” Adelaja said.
Also speaking, Dr Adebayo Sekunmade, LUTH ARD President, noted that all the unions had realised that individual unions could not solve the challenges facing LUTH.
Sekunmade said that all LUTH workers decided to come together to discuss and find solutions to all the challenges in the hospital.
“We regretted that the system lacked the needed tools to work with, thereby posing serious challenges to health workers.
“Some of the challenges which include inadequate of supply of consumables, exposure of staff to unnecessary hazard, unrealistic programmes that benefit just a few patients instead of the generality of patients.
“Rubbishing specialities, denying patient proper access to their doctors, shortage of manpower, poor filing system making the job stressful for staff and time wasting for patients.
“One of the patient’s relative beat up and harassed a medical doctor and nurse last week due to lack of workers security in the hospital,” Sekunmade said.
On his part, Mr Adedokun Shaba, the Chairman of JOHESU and SSAUTHRIAI, appealed to the federal government to investigate their allegations with a view to addressing the challenges in the hospital.
Shaba said that all pleas and meetings with the management of LUTH in the past were yet to yield any positive fruit.
“The management says that all the revenue they generate in the hospital cannot pay workers allowances.
“We are here to dialogue within ourselves, fight for our right as LUTH workers.
“We experience nonchalant attitude of LUTH management towards staff welfare, especially in terms of hazard and exposure of staff to patient’s assault.
“Patients get frustrated because of the hospital bureaucracy affecting the LUTH workers,” Shaba said.
He identified lack of ambulance, inadequate supply of reagents, functional medical machines and use of torchlight and lamps at night.
“We need to restore the excellence of LUTH, the hospital must not die because it is a tertiary hospital,” Shaba said.
The management of the institution was yet to react to the development.
Efforts to get management reaction also failed as security operatives barricaded the entrance of the Chief Medical Director’s office.
The security men, including police and civil defence, told newsmen that they were acting on management directive to bar journalists from accessing the main administrative building.