Doctors strike

Rivers doctors break ranks of NARD, resume work

LUTH opens attendance register

National Hospital limits patients seen daily to 20

By Sola Ogundipe, Chioma Obinna, Gabriel Olawale,  Adeola Badru, Joseph Erunke, Chimaobi Nwaiwu, Chioma Onuegbu, Egufe Yafugbohi, Ibrahim Wuyo, Steve Oko 

AS the strike called by the National Association of Resident Doctors, NARD, entered the eighth day, the striking doctors have called for the sack or resignation of the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Nigige, and the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire.

The President of the NARD,  Dr Uyilawa Okhuaihesuyi, who made the call on Monday, said those responsible for the strike should resign or be sacked since they cannot handle their responsibilities.

Uyilawa said the Association cannot be bullied, adding that those who are the cause of the strike should resign or be sacked since they cannot handle their responsibilities.

The NARD president tackled Ngige for issuing threats of replacement against the resident doctors on national television when the demands they raised had not been met.

“Dr Chris Ngige, Minister of Labour, Osagie Ehanire, the Minister of Health, and Tajudeen Sanusi, Registrar of the  Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria, MDCN, should be sacked if they cannot handle their responsibilities.

READ ALSO: Patients suffer as doctors strike takes toll on hospital services

“If you want to toe the line of no work, no pay, I think you will go and look for 16,000 resident doctors to occupy our place.

“I also want to ask Nigerians to ask them and tell them that those who are the cause of the strike that they have not done their work should rather resign or be sacked from the position they hold. Because if you cannot deliver you have no responsibility being there.

“The ministry of health, the ministry of labour, the MDCN registrar, Sanusi, they are the ones to be held responsible for the strike we are on,” he rematked.

Rivers doctors break ranks of NARD, resume work

Resident doctors in Rivers State have resumed work after one week of participation in the strike. The Chairman ARD in the Rivers State University Teaching Hospital, RSUTH, Dr. George Ela, who disclosed this in Port Harcourt yesterday said the decision to resume work after  consultation with the state government.

“As a product of these engagements, we are happy to inform Rivers people that the legislative processes that will build up to an accelerated hearing and ultimate domestication of the Medical Residency Training Act (MRTA) 2017 has commenced in ernest through the office of the Chairman, House Committee on Health of the Rivers State House of Assembly.

“To reciprocate government gesture and goodwill and to ameliorate the suffering and pains of Rivers people, therefore, congress has resolved that our members should return to the clinics from 08:00 AM on Monday 9th August, 2021.

In a chat with Good Health Weekly,  Ella who confirmed that they have resumed work to cushion the effect of the strike on Rivers people as well as reciprocate what the Governor of the state was doing, however said they have not called off the strike.

“We have already notified the national body of NARD that we have resumed work but we did not call off the strike because it is only the national body that has the right to call off the strike. 

“We took the decision to go back to work to reciprocate what the state governor has been doing in the state.  We joined the strike because of some issues we needed to iron out with the state government.  Now they have agreed to take care of them and we also want to reduce the hardship faced by the Rivers state people as a result of the strike.

But in a reaqction, the NARD President, Dr Okhuaihesuyi Uyilawa said that the national body was not worried by the development in River State, says the strike was for the betterment of doctors and the health sector in general.

“We have 78 centres across the country so if UPTH says they are calling off the strike, that can’t be our problem. They are just one out of 78 centres, even in the Bible, one out of the 12 disciples betrayed Jesus.

“Their decision will not have any impact on other doctors because we know what we went through to calm doctors down before they embarked on strike. So we are not worried about the development in rivers state because we have better things to deliberate on,” he avowed.

LUTH opens attendance register

When Vanguard visited some Federal government-owned hospitals in Lagos State following the directive by the Federal government on ‘No Work, No pay’, some hospitals opened registered while some claimed that they are yet to receive any directive in that regard.

At the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, LUTH, the hospital management opened the register, but none of the striking doctors showed up.

In a circular, the  Director of Administration, LUTH, Babajide Grillo, directed all Heads of Clinical Department to maintain daily attendance register for resident doctors.

The circular reads; “Further to our Circular ref No. ADM/HRM/CIRCULAR/VOL.I/212 dated 2nd August 2021, all Heads of Clinical Departments are requested to maintain daily attendance Register for Resident Doctors in line with Government Policy of ‘No Work, No Pay’

“The completed attendance register should reach the Director of Administration by 4:00pm daily. Heads of Clinical Departments are to note that the hospital management will not condone late submission or any dispute on the presence or absence of any resident doctor from duty.”

No attendance register at Yaba Psychiatric Hospital, NOHL, NAUTH, FMC Umuahia

At the Federal Neuropsychiatric Hospital, Yaba, when our reporter made enquiries, a top management official claimed to be unaware of such directive. “We are not aware of such directive yet.”

The National Orthopaedic Hospital, Igbobi was yet to comply with the directive even as the striking doctors of the hospital claimed ignorance of such directive.

Resident doctors at the Federal Medical Centre, FMC, Umuahia, have not been compelled to sign attendance register as directed by the federal government.

Chairman, Association of Resident Doctors, ARD, at the hospital, Dr. Kelechi Chimezie, told our correspondent in Umuahia that he was not aware of any such register. 

READ ALSO: Doctors Strike: FG appeals to NARD to return to negotiating table

The Chairman of the Association of Resident Doctors, at the Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital, NAUTH, Dr Golibe Ikpeze, said they have not received any information from the national headquarters concerning the Federal government directive on opening and signing attendance register.

“We have not equally received an information from our national leadership on returning to work, so we are unaware of that directive, we are in constant communication with our national leadership that called for the strike and there is no indication or directive that we should go back to work until our minimum demands are met.”

National Hospital limits patients seen daily to 20

Patients seeking attention in public medical facilities in Abuja have embraced private health centres, following the ongoing strike by the resident doctors.

Patients already on admission in most of the public health facilities before the strike have been moved to private facilities by their families.

At the National Hospital  most patients turned back as consultants  limited the number of patients they could attend daily to 20. Even with the number limited to 20,some patients that came as early as 8.00AM waited long hours to see the consultants.

A housewife, who identified herself as Mrs Christiana Ella, told Vanguard that she arrived  as early as 8.00 AM but regretted that as at 2:30PM,she was yet to see any of the consultants.

“I’m here because I’m an enrollee in the NHIS,else I would have gone to a private medical facility to seek attention to my problem,”she said.

Another patient, Patrick Ibiang, a retired civil servant, explained that he was at the hospital by 10:15 AM, but had not attended to by any consultant who  limited the number of patients to be seen to 20 per day.

“I came her by 10:15 AM from Kubwa,  unfortunately, I have not been attended as at this 3:10PM, this is said. Assuming I am in a  critical situation, do you think I would have still been alive even as they are yet to attend to me? He asked.

The situation was not different at the Maitama General Hospital, also in the FCT, as most wards were empty indicating patients may have been moved out by their families.

Most of the outpatients who came for medical attention were seen leaving back almost immediately.

Patients’ relatives express fear  at UUTH

Relatives of patients on admission at the University of Uyo Teaching Hospital, UUTH, have expressed fear over the absence of doctors. The hospital has however suspended admissions

A parent who spoke to Vanguard yesterday  disclosed that a young boy of about 15 years with kidney issue almost died last weekend when his condition became very critical.

“I learned that the boy was undergoing dialysis before the doctors embarked on strike last week and on Friday his condition becamec ritical so they had to transfer him to General Hospital Anua, Uyo.

UCH resident doctors shun No-Work-No Pay threat

The resident doctors of the University College Hospital, UCH, Ibadan, shunned the register opened by the authorities . The ARD Chairman, described it as a trivial matter.

“What we asking for are very serious and germane issues that the government itself has expressed in the past that it was going to address. So we expected them to do those things rather than chasing shadows of opening a register,” he noted.

One of the patients told our reporter that there had not been proper attention since the strike commenced.

Issa Aremu calls for dialogue

Director General of the Micheal Imoudu National Institute for Labour Studies, Comrade Issa Aremu,has called for urgent reform of industrial relations  in the country’s health sector as the industrial strike called by the resident doctors enters the second week.

In a statement  in Abuja  Aremu said it was time  stakeholders in the health sector played by what he called  “the knowledge based rules of collective bargaining, social dialogue, mediation and conciliation to prevent incessant work stoppages in hospitals with attendant costs to lives.

“I have also been saying it that  delayed payment of salaries of medical personnel such as doctors and nurses and teachers amounted to wage theft. But so also  indiscriminate indefinite strike under a  Covid-19 amounts to willful unacceptable industrial suicide.

 “A strike is not war certainly not a mutually assured destructive war as we are witnessing in Nigeria. Strike is ‘a temporary stoppage of work by a group of employees in order to express a grievance or enforce a demand’ after which the workers would return to the same jobs with the same terms,” he avowed.

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