October 22, 2015

UNTH Strike: ARD president alleges harassment, threats

By Francis Igata

ENUGU—Following the indefinite strike action called out by the Association of Resident Doctors,ARD,University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital,UNTH, Ituku Ozalla, Enugu State,its President, Dr. Ifedinso Ugwuoke, yesterday, cried out to relevant security agencies over alleged harassment and threats occasioned by the stance of the union to shut down medical services at the tertiary hospital.

File Photo: Doctors-protest


It would be recalled that the foremost teaching hospital in the South East geopolitical zone, was last Monday,described as a facility where simple ailments transmute to complex diseases.

ARD President, who spoke to Vanguard on the phone in a shaking tone,said,”I have been receiving anonymous calls from people threatening my life and that of my family. One of the callers asked me what I want in UNTH. If I am not careful, it will cost me something very dear.

“As a result, I have evacuated my family into hiding. I am targeted because I said the truth. The people attacking me are beneficiaries of the ills going on in UNTH.”

ARD had, last weekend, during a press conference at their Common Room at UNTH, explained that the association having exhausted all known avenues to salvage the rot in the tertiary hospital, decided to shut down medical services following the flagrant refusal of the Chief Medical Director, Dr. Christopher Amah to implement a written and signed agreement with Ref No: UNTH/CMD/R98C/Vol.204 dated September 15, 2015 to pay resident doctors their skipping allowance approved by the Head of Service to the Federation, which other teaching hospitals in the South East geopolitical zones are paying in full.

Part of their grievance read: “We have decided to embark on an indefinite strike over the entire failure in the system. The aim for which this tertiary hospital was established – service, research and training- have failed totally. A UNTH that is on strike is better than a UNTH that is not on strike. The hospital has been turned to a money collecting centre where patients are made to pay for oxygen that was not used.”

“In times of emergency,common investigations like HB,CT scan,blood banks tests cannot be done in the hospital. Patients are made to travel 20km to private hospitals in the metropolis to access these tests which compound a partial ailment to a complex one. In most,cases,the patients die as a result.

“We carry out surgeries with touch and candle lights following power failure and dysfunctional generators. It is only the poorest of the poor that now comes to UNTH as a last resort. Patients are made to pay above Federal Government approved rates for receiving no services from the hospital. The public have since known that they cannot access a semblance of quality medicare in UNTH which used to serve the entire south-east geopolitical zone.