…..denies staff who are pregnant benefits, allowances
Any female staff of the University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH) who gets pregnant has to either quit the job or keep working until they deliver. That is the directive that has been in place since the Chief Medical Director, Prof. Michael Ibadin, took charge of the Federal Tertiary Health Institution seven years ago.
According to the female workers at the hospital who raised their concerns about the trend, they have been working under very cruel conditions when they are pregnant that so many of the expectant staff have opted to carry their pregnancies to course while still on the job.
"We have been living under hell since Ibadin took over as CMD. Once you are pregnant it is either you work till you are about to deliver or take a maternity leave and not get paid," a nurse who gave her name as Odion said.
With the influence wielded by the CMD the staff has remained quiet about their working conditions which go against the efforts by the United Nations Human Rights Commission to ratify the convention on the elimination of all of forms of discrimination against women.
According to some of the staff, who pleaded for anonymity in order to safeguard their jobs, since the Ibadin-led management took office women are asked during job application interviews if they are pregnant and warned not to get pregnant if they are to enjoy job security. For pregnant women who come for job interviews, they are told outright on application that they cannot get a position in the hospital.
"This is not even veiled with any form of propriety or decorum. This is even buttressed by the fact that women are asked out rightly if they are pregnant at discussions and warned not to if they are to get in," one nurse said.
For those who have employment with the hospital, when they get pregnant they are deprived of allowances such as Call duty when they are on Maternity leave, this is at variance with the provisions of the law on benefits that should accrue to them. Subsequently some female staff work almost to the hour of delivery to avoid losing out on the much needed benefits.
"It has gotten worse since the economy recession started. We now see our expectant colleagues struggling to work even when they are nine months pregnant. On some occasions we have had to deliver them right here in the world. It is not fair the way we are being treated. It is not a sin for a woman to be pregnant. It is so mean that a man is doing this to us; I don’t think if the CMD is a woman he will give this type of directive," Odion said.
A recent incident involved a female doctor who, out of fear, insisted on working through her nine months of pregnancy and delivered on a night she was on duty and even insisted on resuming a few weeks after parturition just to forestall deductions from her emoluments on the premise and directive of the chief executive of the hospital.
This situation has led to a situation where female staff of the hospital who are nursing mothers are no longer able to comply with the Exclusive breastfeeding regimen as prescribed for babies to enhance mother -child bonding while ensuring nutrition and health of the baby.
“The observations are far from surprising considering the fact that the current Chief Medical Director of the hospital was renowned for threatening students on the "dangers" of pregnancy and how it would lead to their failure in examinations especially the clinical where he was examiner and holds the knife and the yam,” a doctor at UBTH said.
When contacted, Prof. Ibadin known for his pro- stance for government implementing the “No Work No Pay,” refused to comment on the issue.
It seems he may have started implementing the "No Work No Pay" the policy before it even becomes law with his belief it will help end impunity in the civil service sector in Nigeria.
With almost every department in the hospital on strike under his tenure, Ibadin said in March that the reason the strike action continues is because government was yet to implement the policy.
"This impunity you are witnessing has to do with the fact that government has not been able to implement no work, no pay. If government implements no work, no pay, no worker will go on strike," he said.