Resident doctors perfect plans to disrupt activities at ABSUTH amid cries over high fees

Posted by News Express | 17 July 2021 | 396 times

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Resident doctors at the Abia State University Uturu Teaching Hospital (ABSUTH) have lost their patience and are determined to paralyze academic activities in the institution, News Express has learnt.

A reliable source told News Express weekend that the resident doctors under the aegis of Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) said there is no going back on their vow to disrupt training of medical students at the ABSU Teaching Hospital, Aba. The doctors hinged their reasons on grievances, protracted crisis, among others. Prominent among the issues is arrear of salaries owed the workers by the state government. It was learnt that the workers are being owed 19 months salary arrears.

It was further gathered that the workers were still being under-paid with a 2009 salary scheme, while refusing to upgrade to current salary scheme. The doctors are not only continuing their strike to press home their demands, we learnt that they are plotting mass disengagement in the coming days.

The students of the institution are also spoiling for a showdown over high fees introduced by the school authority.

A lecturer in the institution who does not want his name in print said they were being owed 9 months arrears of salary. He added he does not see any move by the state government to pay them.

“It is from the increased fees what we are expecting the university authority will pay our salaries from. We also deserve our wages. We have families also. We have to survive,” he argued.

He hinted that the students are kicking against the high fees, throwing light that some parents have expressed reservations over the fees. “Some parents have more than one child in the schools. It will be difficult for such parents under the new high fees regime,” he said.

News Express investigations show that the institution recently hiked its Acceptance fee for fresh intakes from N100,000.00 to N150,000, 00.

The university also increased tuition and other fees for undergraduate and post-graduate students for 2020/2021 session, which resumed late last month. 

Our investigations further show that the doctors are peeved by the low standard facilities at the Teaching Hospital. We gathered that the doctors have taken steps to communicate to the National Universities Commission (NUC), to withdraw accreditation of ABSUTH and consequently stop training of medical students in the institution.

With the same breath, the resident doctors said they would prevail on the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN) to take urgent action against the institution, “to save the lives of Nigerians.”

The doctors, our investigations further showed, made the emergency intervention to ensure the institution does not ‘half-baked’ medical doctors that would attend to the populace in future. 

New Express also gathered the doctors were acting in public interest to “save lives of Nigerians.”

A document issued by the first vice-president of NARD, Dr Aromo Adejo, and obtained by our Reporter read: “We are writing to MDCN and NUC for the withdrawal of the accreditation of ABSUTH, we are going to write them within the next one week.

“We are to tell them that we in NARD don’t believe that doctors are being trained in that school and that they should go and close the school down.

“We are writing them because if doctors are always on strike in that school, who is training its medical students?

“It is a disgrace and a thing of shame that our elected political office holders do not take the health of the people they swore to serve seriously.

“We know they fly abroad or to Abuja or Lagos for better medicare when they are sick but the poor people in Abia State, who pay taxes with which government officials fly abroad, are not taken seriously on health matters.

“The issue with ABSUTH is a protracted one. At this time, we cannot but tell our members there to seek greener pastures elsewhere.

“In fact, as far as we are concerned, if they have their way, they should leave its employment right away since the government does not care about the healthcare of its citizens.”

The doctors association said the teaching hospital does not have all that it takes to train qualified doctors.

Already the national body of NARD had directed its ABSUTH chapter to remain on strike and never to engage in dialogue with the Abia government until the workers got all their entitlements.

Recall that the doctors had been on strike since April 1 this year.

They alleged abandonment of ABSUTH was frustrating and that the development had resulted to some doctors taking up private practices while still in government employment. A former member of Executive Council of the state government said he feared mass resignation of doctors in the institution.

But the state government it was learnt has denied knowledge of any strike by the resident doctors in ABSUTH.

The government accused the doctors of engaging in private practice.

“You don’t just run your own practice at the expense of government’s time and you want government to pay you,” an official of the government said.

Attempts to speak with the government were futile.

Source: News Express

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