May 19, 2023

Patients groan as doctors’ strike enters Day 2

Patients groan as doctors’ strike enters Day 2

By David Odama, Lafia

The 5-day warning strike embarked upon by the National Association of Resident Doctors, NARD, entered the second day today, as patients expressed frustration over their inability to receive treatment in public hospitals.

The situation was particularly worse in public hospitals in Nasarawa State and Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital, ABUTH, Kaduna, where patients were abandoned by the striking doctors.

The situation was not different in public hosiptals in other parts of the country, from the east, west, to the north.

The strike caused exodus of patients to private hospitals which are currently making brisk businesses, though at high cost to patients.

Relatives and friends  of patients on admission were seen evacuating their loved ones to private hospitals in their state.

Recall that the resident doctors had last Wednesday, declared a five-day warning strike following the federal government’s inability to address their demands.

Issues  that necessitated the strike, according to the resident doctors,  include poor  infrastructure, manpower shortage in the health sector, non-payment of medical residency training fund, non-increments of the Consolidated Medical Salary Structure as well as failure of state governments across the country to pay salary arrears of doctors.

When  our correspondent visited the  Nasarawa State government-owned Dalhatu Araf Specialist Hospital in Lafia, it was observed that no resident doctor, especially those on call, was seen at duty post.

Some major units of the hospitals such as out-of-patient, casualty and maternity, which used to record large number of patients  were  under lock, leaving patients unattended to.

Chairman of NARD in the state, Dr Yakubu Adeleke Ademola, who was seen going round the hospital in company of other officials to ensure resident doctors stayed away from the facility, said they had no other option than to comply  with  the directive on the strike.

In an interview, a patient, Baba Hassan Audu, 80, said he was in the  hospital to access treatment since morning but was asked to go back or find alternative.

“I have been suffering from tooth ache. I have an appointment with the doctor but on reaching the hospital I was told the doctors have gone on strike. I cannot afford the medical bill at a private hospital,” he lamented.

Similarly, Mrs Halima Tanko, who called  for an immediate end to the strike, expressed worry  that  the lives  of her twin babies born  few days  ago  were in danger.