The Chairman of SKYE Hospital, Akure, Dr Ikubese Thomas-Wilson, has urged Gov. Rotimi Akeredolu to urgently meet with the state chapter of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) in order to bring the striking doctors back to work.
Thomas-Wilson, in an open letter to the governor on Thursday in Akure, said that the call had become necessary, following the death of a senior doctor and other residents from COVID-19 complications in the state.
He said that the doctors, who had been on strike in the last three weeks, needed to return to their duty posts urgently in order to avert greater calamities.
In his letter, entitled ‘COVID-19: Help, Our Doctors Are Dying, Thomas-Wilson noted that the state had very few cases of confirmed COVID-19 until the lockdown was eased by the Federal Government.
He said that the reopening, a few days ago, of places of worship, with people going about their daily activities with no regard for COVID-19 protocols, should be reviewed.
According to him, the state is not immune from the virus, adding that it has become expedient for the governor to call a stakeholders’ meeting urgently to review the current COVID-19 pandemic, as the current measures are obviously not working.
“As at today, Ondo State is gradually edging towards becoming the COVID-19 hotbed in Nigeria, because it came tops on the table, second only to Lagos.
“Last week, we lost the Commissioner for Health, Dr Wahab Adegbenro, to the ravaging pandemic.
“Just this morning (Thursday), we lost one of our senior medical doctors and former Ondo State Chairman of the Nigerian Medical Association, Dr Matthew Adeyeri, to COVID-19.
“Several senior doctors, nurses and laboratory scientists in the state are currently in isolation.
“The most unfortunate aspect of this development is that medical doctors in the employment of Ondo State government are currently on strike, as government hospitals are no longer attending to patients.
“Even the doctors at the hitherto very busy and critical Infectious Disease Hospital (IDH) have recently down tools.
“The doctors cited non-provision of personal protective equipment (PPE), non-payment of COVID-19 allowance, non-payment of the agreed minimum wage and non-provision of insurance for the frontline workers, among others,” he said.
The medical practitioner also noted that the 12-bedded Infectious Disease Hospital in Akure had also been overstretched with several COVID-19 cases.
“Convening an urgent meeting with the leadership of the state chapter of the Nigerian Medical Association to resolve the knotty issues will avert even greater calamities ahead,” he said.
Thomas-Wilson commiserated with the families of his departed colleagues.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) gathered that Adeyeri was reportedly taken to the Federal Medical Centre, Owo, on Wednesday after he was suspected to have contracted the virus.