The Medical Guild has appealed to the Lagos State Government to prioritise the health and lives of healthcare workers, saying 15 doctors died within six months in the state.
The guild Chairman, Dr Sa’eid Ahmad, made the disclosure during a news conference ahead of the guild’s forthcoming Annual General Meeting and Scientific Conference, on Sunday, in Lagos.
The guild is the association of medical doctors working with the Lagos State government.
Mr Ahmad noted that the past year had been particularly challenging for the guild due to ongoing co-morbidities exacerbated by manpower bleed and the attendant severe overwork among members at service points and a number of members’ deaths.
“The intensity of the attendant sense of loss was probably brought to its peak with the tragic event of collapsed elevator in the General Hospital, Odan, Lagos, which claimed the life of our young colleague, the late Dr Vwaere Diaso. This was to be followed by end-on-end demises of some additional colleagues, sometimes, multiple over a few days,” he said.
Mr Ahmad stressed that the sad events serve as an inescapable wake-up call to intensify vigilance towards self-care, and deepen the level of engagement with the government to prioritise the health and lives of healthcare workers in the state.
“These, after all, are the people in whose hands the health and lives of the people are entrusted,” he said.
To address the situation, Mr Ahmad said that the guild, through a series of emergency general assemblies and consultations, developed a comprehensive position paper.
He said the paper drew the attention of the state government to urgently take actions to salvage the spiralling health of the health workers.
Mr Ahmad said that the document identified the roots of the welfare problems culminating in massive exodus, and proffered practical and workable solutions.
“We had demanded short, medium and long-term solution categories to these problems, including the basic need for healthcare workers to be able to obtain much needed care themselves within the system in which they work. This document has indeed formed the cornerstone of highest level policy discussions with the government of Lagos State on behalf of our members. It is our hope that these discussions produce policy pronouncements and actionable directives at any moment,” he said.
He disclosed that the guild, through its Office of Social Welfare, spent N21.5 million in responding promptly to some of its sick members and support for families of bereaved members in times of loss.
The chairman said the guild had embarked on housing mortgage and automobile facilities to provide members decent accommodation and mobility to ease their commuting to work.
Mr Ahmad commended the government for resolving issues of stagnation and demotion of in-service trained specialists and financial implementation of the same since August 2023.
Speaking on the forthcoming AGM and Scientific Conference, Mr Ahmad said that week-long activities, which began on Sunday, would feature medical outreach, cancer awareness campaign, lecture series, among others.
Mr Ahmad noted that tapping into these intellectual reservoirs by health policymakers and other stakeholders would yield benefits.
He said it would greatly enhance appropriate policy formulation and implementation strategies for the overall benefit of saving lives and improving wellbeing of the people.