Resident doctors’ strike paralyses activities at Alex Ekwueme Varsity Teaching Hospital

Posted by Charles lwuoha | 22 January 2020 | 538 times

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The Association of Resident Doctors (ARD), Alex Ekwueme Federal University Teaching Hospital Abakaliki (AE-FUTHA) Chapter, has embarked on a three-day warning strike.

The doctors, on Tuesday, accused the Management of the hospital of deliberately refusing to pay the arrears of the Doctors even when it has gotten the money from the Federal Government.

They said they had to embark on the strike which commenced tomorrow as all efforts to get the Management of the hospital led by the Chief Medical Director, Emeka Ogah, to pay the arrears were not successful.

Speaking to our Reporter in Abakaliki, President of the Association in the hospital, Dr. Osuagwu Philip, said other tertiary institutions in the Southeast have paid their doctors the arrears which was released last year but the Management of AE-FUTHA have refused to pay them the arrears.

He said: “The current strike we embarked is because of the money that we are being owed which is arrears of what we called salary shortfalls  was supposed to be paid to us last December. N50 million was released for this payment and we have tried to negotiate with management to pay this money, they refused.

“We are not alone in this, the other south east hospitals like UNTH, FMC Owerri, FMC Umuahia, National Orthopedic hospital and other hospitals in Nigeria received money, the same money and they all paid. It has been a challenged to us and the same thing happened in 2018 when N100 million was also paid to our hospital for this purpose.

“However, even after management agreed that they will pay this money following change of regime, they immediately said they won’t pay and eventually they did not pay. So, that is the situation we find ourselves again in December, 2019 when this N50 million was paid.

“This strike was supposed to happen last two weeks, we are supposed to go on this strike last two weeks. However, the board Chairman through the former Chief Medical Director (CMD) came and asked us to allow them to intervene for two weeks and that’s why we gave two weeks which expired on 20th January, 2020.”

Philip said after the warning strike, the hospital will embark on indefinite strike after 21 days if the arrears are not paid.

According to him, “We met with the CMD on this 20th January, 2020 to see if he can see reasons why he should pay this money, he refused and that is why the congress took a decision to go on this strike and the resolution is that if after this three-day warning strike and management did not pay this money, that 21-days from now, we will be going on an indefinite strike.

“This has been communicated to the leadership of our National body, we have also communicated to south east caucus leaders and we will also communicate to necessary authorities; security outfits about this strike and then wait.

“So, this strike is total and we are not offering any service. The only people that will be working in this hospital are the consultants. It involves everybody under the association of Resident Doctors that in AE-FETHA.

“We appeal to the masses to understand the challenges we face. Our welfare has been neglected for two long and we tried to show this understanding and we keep working even under these stressful conditions. We all know how endemic Lassa fever is in the hospital. But despite all that we put in to ensure that this hospital keep working, our efforts are not recognised.”

When contacted on phone, the CMD Emeka Ogah, said that the N50m so far released by the Federal Government was meant only for casual workers adding that the strike is not total.

He expressed hope that the issue will be resolved very soon as the management takes the welfare of all staff of the hospital very seriously.

Source: News Express

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