By Chioma Obinna & EMMA UNA
LAGOS—THE National Association of Resident Doctors, NARD, Wednesday, made good its threat to begin a nationwide strike throwing Federal public hospitals in the country into confusion leaving patients in the hands of nurses and midwives.
This came as indication emerged that members of NARD in the State Hospitals might be forced to join the strike.
In Lagos, though there were skeletal services in some of the hospitals, the doctors were not at their duty posts.
Only few consultants were attending to large crowd of patients.
From the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, LUTH, Idi-Araba, National Orthopaedic Hospital, Igbobi, and Federal Neuro Psychiatric Hospital, Yaba, Lagos, the situations were the same.
President LUTH-ARD, Dr Emeka Ugwu, told Vanguard in Lagos that members joined the strike yesterday.
President, Association of Resident Doctors, LASUTH chapter, Dr Oluwajimi Shodipo, hinted that there was an ongoing deliberation to decide whether the state hospitals should join the strike or not.
Shodipo confirmed that some doctors were still working at the hospital.
A consultant psychiatrist at the Federal Neuro Psychiatric Hospital, Dr Olugbenga Owoeye, said the resident doctors at the hospital joined the strike at 12midnight.
In Calabar, Nurses and midwives were seen discharging some functions of medical doctors.
At the General Hospital Calabar, large crowd of patients were seen waiting to be attended to by the two medical directors and their assistants.
At the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital, Dr Thomas Agan, the Chief Medical Director, confirmed that doctors in the hospital had joined their counterparts in the nationwide strike.
He said he pleaded to the doctors in vail to shelve the strike, saying “We know that the doctors are on strike nationwide but we have continued to make appeals to our doctors to return to work to no avail. Presently, we are relying on our consultants to do some of the works.”
A patient, Mrs Matilda Eteng who was admitted with her son into the paediatric section of the hospital, lamented that her son had not been attended to since Monday when he was admitted.
Some medical staff who did not want to disclose their names lamented the haphazard payment of salaries since the introduction of the e-payment mid last year.
“You can imagine as a nurse on grade level nine, what I was paid last month was just 6,000 naira and when I complained I was told the error is from Abuja and some of my colleagues and even doctors have not been paid for several months.”
”Many doctors have not been collecting salary for some months now because of the e-payment of salaries and these people have families to cater for,” our source said.