By Anayo Okoli
MEDICAL students of Abia State University Teaching Hospital, ABSUTH, who have been out of class room for upwards of six months on account of the protracted strike embarked upon by doctors, have been lamenting their fate, saying they were now “frustrated”.
The students lamented that the accreditation of their medical programmes was now under serious threat on account of the prolonged closure of their school, even as they complained that some of them had spent eight years for a 6-year course.
In a statement by the students, who are appealing to Governor Theodore Orji to come to their aid, ABSUTH, which they said was the first state university to get accreditation, was on the verge of losing it.
“The Association of Residents Doctors, ARD, ABSUTH chapter, has been on strike for the past six months over irregular payment of salaries by Abia State government and this has halted all clinical activities and learning in the hospital.
“Prior to this present strike, the medical students have been made to endure series of incessant strike by ABSUTH workers since 2009 (cumulating to over 14 months). This has adversely affected us, in the sense that we now spend over eight years studying a 6- year course.
“ Abia Medical School which has been known before now as a medical school that graduates students as at when due, is now notorious for delays. Each set now adds additional two years to the normal six years’ curriculum. Our mates in other medical schools all over Nigeria are two years or more ahead of us. All these are as a result of the closure of Abia State Teaching Hospital, Aba.”
“We the Abia State University Medical Students’ Association humbly appeal to our Governor, Chief T.A Orji to reopen our teaching hospital, Abia State University Teaching Hospital Aba, which has been on strike for the past 8 months.
“Our academic programme caused by the continued closure of Abia teaching Hospital has led to backlogs as there are presently 8 classes in the medical school instead of the normal 6 classes. Most of our lecturers (doctors that teach us) and our foreign students have left our teaching hospital because of this closure.
“Furthermore, this incessant strike action is threatening the medical accreditation of ABSUTH and if it lingers will led to a total closure of our teaching hospital by the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria. ABSUTH being the first state teaching hospital to get full accreditation is now on the brink of losing it. The consequences being that medical students that have already spent 8 years will be asked to transfer to other schools with the attendant frustration and academic hardship of getting used to a new environment.
“The Abia State Medical Students are heavily frustrated and we therefore appeal to our able Governor T.A Orji to save ABSUTH from this ugly situation as medical students are the ones severely affected”, the medical students said in a statement signed by Ogbue Chukwuemeka, President of the medical students association.