LUTH Doctors' Rivalry Gets Messier

It seems the drama never ends in the Nigerian health sector; if it's not the Joint Health Workers Union of Nigeria (JOHESU), it's AHPA, NANNM or some other health association agitating against doctors over unfair treatment, position or salaries.

Well, this time there is a twist and it's Doctors fighting each other with the stage set for the 'mother-of-all battles'.

In the ring we have, the Management and Chief Medical Director (CMD) of Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) squaring off against Resident  Doctors under the aegis of  Association of Resident Doctors (ARDs), with the support of the Lagos chapter of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA).

The bone of contention? NMA and resident doctors allege that the CMD used security agents to harass doctors, refused to pay the arrears of emoluments , such as examination fee, update course fee and promotion arrears, among others. They also alleged that the hospital stopped the deducted union dues payable to doctors’ association by their members (ARD ). The group is also calling for the sack of the CMD.

Meanwhile, the CMD has debunked the allegations, saying some NMA and ARD members had personal scores to settle.

At a press briefing yesterday, the management of LUTH, led by the Chief Medical Director (CMD), Prof. Chris Bode, disclosed that doctors and other health workers in LUTH worked for only 112 days last year due to frequent strike, and they still earn more than their counterparts in private hospitals.

The CMD also said: “We don’t report to NMA. We are only begging them to stay away."
He further said: “The president of our resident doctors association here had the audacity to face me and told me that he will go to any extent to achieve their aim. This is part of what they are doing. I reported it to the security agencies.

If a student can look at the CMD and say he will go to any extent to achieve their aims, it shows you the kind of leadership problems the country is facing in the medical field. This is the reason for this orchestrated call that Bode must go. Whether Bode goes or not, people must always demand for service and one day this country will start asking what are we getting from this money we are spending training these doctors and paying for services not rendered. That is the issue."

When interviewed, The Lagos NMA chairman, Dr Tope Ojo, advised the CMD to vacate his position because he has attained the mandatory age of retirement (60 years).

My humble opinion: the level of disdain and bitterness veiled in both parties' comments is heart-rending; the height was calling a resident doctor "a student" .

With doctors struggling to retain some semblance of dignity in the Nigerian health sector, the last thing we need is tearing each other down. Like a wise man said,  "a house divided against itself cannot stand".

Let's live in peace and unity!