Text of the Press Conference by Joint Action Front (JAF)
Held in Lagos, 10th April 2017
We in the Joint Action Front (JAF), the pro-Labour civil society partner of Labour (NLC & TUC), welcome our dear media compatriots to this press conference. We are concerned on the imperative necessity to SAVE LUTH and ensure PUBLIC HEALTHCARE DELIVERY in the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), specifically, and the health sector in the country, in general.
Hence, this press conference, which we specifically called to inform and mobilize Nigerians (comprising the working people, the oppressed poor, students, traders, professionals, women, the trade unions, academics, unemployed youth, farmers, artisans, Muslims, Christians and faith based organizations, etc) to join the STRUGGLE to:
- REJECT THE PRIVATISATION & COMMERCIALISATION OF PUBLIC FACILITIES IN LUTH!
- RESIST THE WICKED & ANTI-HUMAN AUTHORITY IN LUTH!!
- STOP THE VICTIMISATION OF PATRIOTIC DOCTORS and HEALTH WORKERS IN LUTH NOW!!!
- DEMAND IMMEDIATE & UNCONDITIONAL REINSTATEMENT OF DR. OLORUNFEMI & DR. ADEYELU NOW!!!
- INSIST ON ADEQUATE FUNDING & DEMOCRATIC MANAGEMENT OF THE HEALTH SECTOR!!!
- THE PATHETIC STATE OF LUTH NIGERIANS MUST KNOW!
WHY FREQUENCY OF DEATHS IN LUTH? THE MANAGEMENT OF LUTH IS THE CULPRIT,
It is no news that LUTH has become a go-and-die hospital, and a no-go-area for poor Nigerians, despite that it was established as a Public Institution to save lives and improve healthcare delivery.
The reasons are:
- The dialysis center was shut for over a year and was just reopened with only one functional dialysis machine, when a teaching hospital such as LUTH should ideally have at least twenty (20). Also, ideally, there should be separate machines dedicated to patients with Hepatitis and HIV in order to prevent cross infection, but there is none. Why is LUTH neglecting Hepatitis and HIV patients?
- Only one functional ultrasound machine in LUTH instead of at least 10. It is the only machine available for babies, pregnant women, HIV patients, accident victims, adults, etc., thereby putting patients and health workers in a permanent state of chaos, desperation and conflicts on who uses the machine at any point in time.
- There is only one functional ECG Machine, when there should be at least one in every ward and service areas. This machine is used to diagnose heart disease. The use of the machine is critical in heart attack and other emergencies.
- Only one manual Defibrillator exist on Display in LUTH, when there should be at least one (automatic Defibrillator) in every ward. It is used to revive dying heart (cardiac arrest).
- There are grossly inadequate Nebulizer machine and face masks in LUTH, when ideally, each ward should have at least two nebulizers. This machine is used for treating children and adults with acute asthmatic attack. Unfortunately, patients are compelled to buy face masks at critical period when death is calling.
- Phototherapy machine used to treat babies with neonatal jaundice are only 4 instead of at least 10.
- Surgeries of patients are delayed and most times cancelled because of the lack of oxygen and common consumables like face masks, sterile gloves, etc. Patients on admission also suffered from lack of essential medical supplies and consumables such as beddings, cotton wool, iodine, savlon buy these materials lead to wasting of precious time in emergencies, with adverse medical consequences.
- No Functional spirometer that is used to diagnose people with respiratory diseases.
- No functional AMBULANCE is owned by LUTH, hence poor patients with critical emergencies await death instead of hope of recovery. There is understaffing and lack of ventilators. Nigerians should know that when critically ill patients are not attended to within 10 -12hrs, such patients may die. What then is the relevance of LUTH as a public institution if it lacks in facilities to attend to patients?
- Close Monitoring of critically ill patients is no longer possible because there are no facilities for close monitoring of patients.
- Under Prof. Chris Bode’s maladministration, the LABORATORIES are shut at night, hence Doctors can do nothing and are helpless to save the lives of patients rushed to LUTH at night. Even the Laboratory at the Accident and Emergency Department built with public fund is being fraudulently operated as a PPP project to rake fund into private pockets, and is more expensive, unaffordable to the poor patients, and does not offer 24 hours service.
- No functional toilets and bathrooms in almost all Departments and wards in LUTH, except the common sight of people bathing in the open in the early hours of the day. The specter of open bathing in LUTH is the clearest manifestation of decadence and degeneration of healthcare delivery in the country.
- Electricity and water supplies have been deteriorating for months. The erratic supply of electricity and water affects schedules of surgical operations, endangers the security of the hospital environment and the safety of patients. The water scarcity is easily noticeable with the messy toilets that stink in the LUTH environment. Most of the hospital buildings are in total darkness, yet patients are there. LUTH at night is like the bush where hunters hunt, because nurses put on torchlights on their heads due to darkness in the wards. Elevators are not working, the common sight has been moving patients up and down.
- The Accident and Emergency Department in LUTH is supposed to be FREE statutorily. However, the insensitive Management of LUTH imposes an exorbitant fee of N50,000 Deposit, thereby condemning to death abnitio patients from the ranks of the poor that cannot afford to pay such fees under emergencies. Yet, all Nigerians have the rights to live.
- Doctors, nurses and other health workers are ever ready to work, to save lives and to deliver good healthcare but what can they do when the medical facilities and consumables are lacking? Or what can they do with the few facilities available, when Prof Bode shut the laboratories at night, like he is running his private clinic for cash-in-hand patients?
- The Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement is a FRAUD because while public funds are invested, revenues are generated for private pockets only.
- WHERE GOES THE FUND ALLOCATIONS TO LUTH, YET NO MEDICAL FACILITIES & CONSUMABLES? The answer is simple - Professor Chris Bode’s obsession for Looting & Greed!
- Some of the above prevalence are due to the wicked and anti-human authority of the Chief Medical Director (CMD) - Prof. Chris Bode in LUTH.
- VICTIMISATION OF DOCTORS, NURSES & OTHER HEALTH WORKERS IS ONGOING!
· Doctors, nurses and other health workers who have spoken against the deteriorating state of public facilities and management of patients in LUTH are being illegally and unjustly victimized. There are currently two cases – Dr. Gbenga Olorunfemi and Dr. Olusola Adeyelu. Dr. Olorunfemi was unjustly sacked over an issue for which Prof Bode ought to have been sacked. Can a Doctor conduct surgical operation on two patients at the same time? That was the predicament of Dr. Olorunfemi. As for Dr. Adeyelu, being a vocal voice that LUTH should not be a hospital to kill but save lives, he was stopped from writing his final Resident Doctor exams, against all known medical ethics, and subsequently suspended from work till date.
· Others including officers of the Association of Resident Doctors (ARD), Medical and Health Workers’ Union (MHWUN), National Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives (NANNM) and Non-Academic Staff Union (NASU) are under the threats of victimization.
·Nurses are owed and shortchanged in the payment of their monthly allowances, while Doctors are owed over six months of salaries and allowances; yet the Prof Bode’s high-handedness forbids them from speaking out. If they do, their jobs are threatened.
- LET’S JOIN HANDS TO SAVE LUTH & SAVE HUMAN LIVES
JAF therefore urges Nigerians to STRUGGLE & DEMAND the followings:
· The Federal Government has a responsibility to make LUTH and other public healthcare centres across the country, to work with adequate funding and medical supplies, and to build more public health facilities, in order to ensure access to Healthcare to all.
· Immediate and Unconditional Reinstatement of Dr. Olorunfemi, Dr. Adeyelu and other victimized health workers in LUTH and payment of Just Compensation to all the victims of LUTH Management’s high-handedness.
· We must struggle to Defeat ALL the wicked policies and measures in LUTH that are targeted at the poor Nigerians, the patients, the workers and their unions.
· Nigerians nationwide, MUST INSIST on their rights to public healthcare and demand that LUTH, other teaching hospitals and public health facilities MUST not be neglected at the expense of looting our national wealth to offset the foreign medical bills of the rulers in Governments (Local, State & Federal) and their cronies.
· Immediate and unconditional cancellation of the mandatory N50,000 Deposit imposed on patients at the EMERGENCY HEALTHCARE UNIT in LUTH.
· Total Reversal of the policies of commercialization of healthcare in public healthcare facilities.
- JAF ACTION PLAN TO ENFORCE THE DEMANDS
·JAF is resolved to embark on series of Political Actions, including massive public campaigns, leafleting, rallies, congresses with doctors and health workers unions in LUTH, alliances with and demands on the trade union centers, etc., to ensure the realization of the above enumerated demands.
·The press conference of today marks the takeoff of our Action Plan.
- AS WE STRUGGLE TO SAVE LUTH, WE MUST STRUGGLE TO END THIS UNJUST CAPITALIST SYSTEM!
·We must struggle to bring forth a new POLITICAL and ECONOMIC ORDER that will put an end to this era of the corrupt capitalist ruling system & its agents. We must build a new political alternative that will ensure that the wealth of the country is judiciously used to benefit the majority working population and the oppressed poor on education, public health, social welfare, massive employment opportunities, improved standard of living, etc.
ORGANISE IN YOUR SCHOOLS, WORK PLACES & NEIGHBORHOODS
JOIN THE STRUGGLE TO SAVE LUTH NOW!
SAVE THE HEALTH SECTOR & SAVE LIVES!!
DARE TO STRUGGLE, DARE TO WIN!
DR. DIPO FASHINA Comrade ABIODUN AREMU
JAF Chairperson JAF Secretary