By Ifeoma Ejiofor
The Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital (NAUTH), Nnewi branch of the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) on Monday joined the national strike embarked upon by the association.
The President of NAUTH branch of NARD, Dr Golibe Ikpeze in an interaction with journalists said the branch joined the strike at 8:00am on Monday in compliance with the directive from the national body.
Ikpeze said the striking doctors at the NAUTH had already left clinical services in the hands of the Consultants and others who are not members of the NARD.
He explained that the patients were briefed about the development with the assurance that the Consultants were still on ground.
“As members of the NARD, we ensure one hundred percent compliance to the strike which was the resolution we had after a meeting in Umuahia, Abia State. “None of us would go against that”, Dr Ikpeze said. Doctors are still in the hospital who are not our members. Our members counselled the patients on the issue of the industrial action.
“We have given the Federal Government more than one hundred days to address the issues at stake to no avail which included paucity of doctors, non-payment of salaries owed and allowances, issues of recruitment, postings of house officers and all of that. We have complained to make sure that these issues are resolved but they are still there and nobody is doing anything about them.
“It is obvious that the government is playing games with the issues raised by NARD, the federal government has moved the issue from Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to Memorandum of Action (MoA) he noted.
He added that the the doctors are still handling the surge of the Covid-19 pandemic with government doing nothing to appreciate the hazards being faced by the doctors who are front liners in the war against COVID-19.
According to him, the Federal Government did not seem to demonstrate any commitment to some of the NARD members who have “fallen in the line of service”.
He said that the NAUTH NARD members would always comply with the national body’s directive to embark on strike and ready to resume duties anytime the federal government addresses the issues raised by the association.
Meanwhile, the acting Chief Medical Director(CMD)of the NAUTH, Dr. Joseph Ugboaja, in a phone chat, conveyed the assurance that the hospital will continue to do its best to take care of the patients.
He appealed to the patients not to panic as the hospital would not relent in its efforts to care for their medical needs.