…I’m shocked Labour Minister claims he is unaware of strike — NARD President
…We cannot afford to shut down — OWOEYE, MD, Yaba Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital, Lagos
…Resume duty immediately or risk sack — RIVERS GOVT
AS the national strike called by the National Association of Resident Doctors, NARD, entered the second day on Tuesday, patients had a rough deal as activities and services at various public hospitals across the country continued to be disrupted with many rendering only palliative services.
Low-key activities in LASUTH, LUTH
When Vanguard visited the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, LASUTH, activities were low-key and several patients seen around the surgical and medical wards confirmed that they were yet to be attended to by doctors.
A middle aged woman who identified herself as Gbemisola Ajani confirmed that no doctor had turned up.
“I brought my son for treatment, and we have been here for about four hours. They said we should wait, but later told us that the doctiors are not coming, so I’m taking my son back home because we cannot continue to wait.”
An official however explained that there were consultants despatched to attend to patients on first-come, first-served basis.
At the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, LUTH, all the clinics including the Accident & Emergency were open, but they were devoid of the usual beffhive of activities as only few patients were seen around when Vanguard visited around 11.00 am on Tuesday.
It was gathered that senior consultants were attending to both thein-patients and tthe out-patients on schedule. An official told our reporter that even though the strike was ongoing, there were no plans to discharge patients enmasse.
Empty hallways in UPTH
When Vanguard visited the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital, UPTH, around midday, the ever busy hallways and various departments of the health institution were largely empty with few patients around and onduty staff struggling to provide routine services.
Our reporter observed that a few patients desperate to receive attention were seen gathered together.
An unnamed staff who tried to deny the ongoing strike, claimed that doctors had been around earlier to attend to patients and had closed for the day.
Strike takes its toll in UBTH
At the University of Benin Teaching Hospital, UBTH, patients waited endlessly for doctors to attend them even as the few consultants available were overstretched.
In a reaction, the Chief Medical Director of UBTH, Professor Darlington Obaseki noted: “We have consultants who are trying to keep things going but they are quite fewer than the resident doctors but we are hoping that the strike will not last so normal services can resume in the hospital.”
President of the Association of Resident Doctors (ARD), UBTH, Dr Ifeanyi Ufuani said other cadres of doctors such as consultants were on ground, but the resident doctors constitute about 80 percent of the workforce.
Patients stranded in UITH
At the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital, UITH, the ARD members were compliant with the strike when Vanguard visited Tuesday afternoon.
Many patients who had prior appointments were stranded in the premises as the doctors were absent. A few of the doctors were seen in groups discussing the development.
Some patients who spoke to our correspondent said they stayed way from the hospital after being informed that their doctors would not be on duty.
We cannot afford to shut down — OWOEYE, MD, Yaba Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital, Lagos
At the Federal Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital, Yaba, services were in progress and patients were being attended to on Tuesday morning.
The Medical Director, Dr. Olugbenga Owoeye who urged the striking resident doctors and government to reach amicable solution so that the strike will not prolong, said the hospital cannot afford to shut down.
“Our hospital is unique in that it can’t afford to shut down, so we are operating 24 hours and also attending to emergencies because we have a lot of consultants on ground.
“In addition, we can’t afford our system to break down, unless the whole streets will be littered with people with mental health disorders, so we are running our clinics and those on the wards are also being attended to
I’m shocked Labour Minister claims he is unaware of strike — NARD President
The President of the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors, NARD, Dr. Okhuaihesuyi Uyilawa yesterday said that the statement released by the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige through his Deputy Director of Press and Public Relations, Charles Akpan, claiming that they had a successful meeting was far from truth.
Uyilawa said that despite his effort to persuade the minister to answer some of the demands of the Association before the Exco meeting in Umahia, it all proved abortive as the minister failed to take any concrete action towards their demand.
His words: “The same way the minister claimed that he was shocked that we went on strike despite the fact that we had a successful meeting, is the same way I was shocked that he claimed that we had a successful meeting and was unaware that we will embarked on strike.
“On the Thursday before the last, we met with him and he was aware that more than 90 percent of the things we demanded for are not met.
“Before our meeting in Umahia, we went to him and showed him the minutes of our last meeting and I specifically told him that decision will be taken at Umuahia and that I suspect it may go the way of strike.
“I tried to persuade him to put something on the table before the meeting in Umuahia so that we can have something to tell members.
After the visit we knew that it was empty promises as nothing was done. Even today, nobody has reached out to us despite the fact that we have submitted letters to all relevant agencies of government to intervene. Since no response is coming in, the strike continues,” he remarked.
Resume duty immediately or risk sack — RIVERS GOVT
The Rivers State government has tasked medical doctors on the state’s payroll to immediately pull out of the strike action declared by the NARD and resume work, today (Wednesday).
The Secretary to the State Government, Dr. Tammy Danagogo, in a statement in Port Harcourt, said the government would seize salaries of the doctors if they refuse to adhere and resume duties.
Danagogo noted that there was no justification for doctors in the state joining the strike action, adding that the reasons for the industrial action was national.
He said the strike ought to be restricted to only doctors for in federal institutions, questioning the involvement of doctors working for the state government.
“Whereas the NARD has a right to go on strike, we expect that such should be restricted to resident doctors that are directly under the payroll of the Federal Government, particularly as the Rivers State government does not owe salaries or benefits to resident doctors in the State.
“We are therefore unable to decipher why Resident Doctors in the State will embark on sympathy strike with their counterparts in the employment of the Federal Government.
“To this end, the Rivers State Government having reaffirmed its position with respect to the above, will not tolerate further strike actions by Resident doctors in Rivers State and will be compelled to invoke the “No Work, No Pay” rule on striking house Officers.
“We therefore direct all Resident Doctors to call off the ongoing strike in the State and return to work within 24hrs, or forfeit their salaries and risk being sacked.”