No less than 200 medical doctors in Lagos State have been infected with COVID-19 in the line of duty.
This was revealed on Tuesday by the Medical Guild in a statement jointly signed by the association’s Chairman and Secretary, Dr Oluwajimi Sodipo and Dr Ismail Ajibowo respectively.
They were responding to a statement the state government released a day earlier through its Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Gbenga Omotoso.
Omotoso had in the statement said that after a meeting between the state government and the doctors, who are on a-three-day warning striking, that it was worrisome some the doctors would still down tools at a time when their services were mostly required due to the COVID-19 pandemic .
In its response the Medical Guild said it regretted the attempts to paint the association as being unprofessional and casting untrue impression that “the strike is being masterminded by a few members of the Medical Guild.”
The statement read in part:
“The Medical Guild is a professional body with well-skilled members, an affiliate of NMA with the aim of catering for the welfare of its members and providing world-class medical services to Lagosians, Nigerians, and foreigners.
“Since its inception in 1926, it has been at the forefront of innovative strides and collaborative efforts with government on the issue of health sector development and progress. The Guild attempted all within its powers to prevent the strike.
“We start by drawing the attention of the government that more than 200 medical doctors who are members of the Guild have been infected with COVID-19, many of whom 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.
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“The Guild had also been at the forefront of advocating for priority testing for all health care workers and patients on admission in hospitals so as to up scale provision of safe medical services, suggestions which had been largely jettisoned until the declaration of strike action.
“On the specific issues raised about the wages, salaries, and emoluments, we are happy that the LASG has now agreed that our federal counterparts in the same state earn much more than doctors working with Lagos State and this situation has been going on for years without a definitive action from government to bridge the gaps.
“Apart from the fact that there are security implications of releasing remuneration of employees publicly, the LASG has maintained that they have no agreement with the COVID-19 volunteers at the isolation centre, hence 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 and 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.
“The increased hazard allowance which was quoted as being increased by over 400 percent translates to an increase from 5,000 naira to 25,000 naira.
“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 government for the delivery of qualitative healthcare services to the populace with positive development in the health sector.”