Fashola Begs Doctors

Gov. Babatunde Raji Fashola

Gov. Babatunde Raji Fashola

Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State, South West Nigeria, has again appealed to striking doctors in the state’s public hospitals to call off their strike and embrace dialogue with the government.

Gov. Babatunde Raji Fashola

The governor asked the doctors to follow the footsteps of their counterparts at the national level who yielded to appeals from well-meaning Nigerians and withdrew their notice to embark on strike.

Speaking at a stakeholders’ forum on Eradication of Polio in the State, at the Rowe Park Sports Centre, Yaba, Fashola assured Lagosians that the state government was on top of the ongoing strike by the medical doctors and would continue to appeal to them to come back to negotiating table as their demands would be met.

Also speaking at the free medical mission on Monday in Apapa Local Government, Fashola re-echoed the call on the medical doctors to call off their strike which is now about one month old.

Speaking through his running mate, Mrs. Victoria Orelope-Adefulire, the governor said the state had many things to attend to and that paying the doctors 100 percent of the Consolidated Medical Salary Scale, COMESS would affect the state adversely.

According to him, dialogue was the key to resolving the current face-off between the doctors and government.

Fashola stated that pending when the doctors called of their strike, the state government would be embarking on free health missions to alleviate the plight of the people affected as a result of the doctors’ strike.

Meanwhile, at the stakeholders’ forum on Polio, Fashola, who was represented by the Secretary to the State Government, Princess Adeniran Ogunsanya, explained that Poliomyelitis is a highly infectious viral disease which may not necessarily present symptoms yet constitute a vehicle of transmitting the infections to others.

He stated that polio cases had decreased by over 99% since 1998 from an estimated 350,000 cases in 125 endemic countries to about 1,997 reported cases in 2006 while in 2008, the disease was still endemic in only four countries in the world.

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The governor pointed out that four countries constituted the net exporters of polio to the world and that the countries were Pakistan, Afghanistan, India and Nigeria, PAIN.

According to him “Lagos State cannot afford to be labeled as a ‘Polio Area’, as the disease is caused by population influx into the state such that we cannot and will not leave anything to chance with regard to polio eradication,” adding that the stakeholders’ town hall meeting on polio eradication was of importance as it afforded the state government the opportunity to enumerate what had been done in the area of health delivery and to receive response on ways and strategies on how to proffer a lasting solutions on polio eradication.

Fashola further appealed to Lagosians and relevant stakeholders to support the state government in eradicating polio, stressing that if other countries could successfully eradicate polio with well articulated plans “we also can.”

State Commissioner for Health, Dr Jide Idris revealed that the cumulative figures for un-vaccinated children in Lagos for DPT3 and OPV3 for the period of January to November 2010 stood at 69,673 and 113,076 respectively.

He noted that Lagos State appeared unique as it was perhaps the only state in the federation implementing the Local Immunization Days, adding that a second round of Local Immunization Days was implemented throughout the state while the state had also participated in two rounds of National Immunization plus Days in January and February 2011.

The commissioner reaffirmed the state government’s commitment to adopting and implementing all strategies identified to be effective in combating the polio scourge.

He revealed that current statistics show that Lagos State was almost polio free in 2002 and 2006 when no polio virus was detected, saying that only one was recorded against the preceding years, 2001 and 2005.

—Kazeem Ugbodaga