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Loan apps now our survival strategy, says UNTH Resident Doctors

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By Abiodun Ifeoluwa

 

Resident doctors serving at the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, UNTH, Ituku-Ozalla, on Wednesday, bemoaned the non-payment of their salaries for three months.

It could be recalled that the National Association of Resident Doctors, NARD, had earlier fixed today, Wednesday, for a nationwide protest over the issues affecting their members.

However, the protest was called off at midnight following the intervention of Senate President, Godswill Akpabio.

But in UNTH, Enugu, the doctors say beyond the national issues being pushed by NARD, they have peculiar challenges.

The doctors, who had gathered for the aborted protest, described their current predicament as pitiable and unacceptable.

They said though the national body has called off the protest, the gathering has provided them an opportunity to open up on their predicament.

READ ALSOResident doctors reject FG’s N25,000 quarterly allowance

Doctors said every entreaty to the hospital management has not yielded a positive result.

According to them, many of their members are already sliding into depression, with a good number of them now regular customers to loan apps.

The over 100 affected medical workers, who have been left as locum resident doctors for over two years, say they have run out of patience.

Dr. Nwosu Ivan of the Surgery Department to National Daily that the suffering of their members was indescribable.

“The issue about owing locum doctors three months’ salary in UNTH is very pathetic and I don’t wish that to even my enemies. I want to call on all men of goodwill, our consultants, our CMD and concerned citizens to know that doctors in UNTH are really suffering.

“Many colleagues of ours have been trekking to work, that is a fact, because they have to park their vehicles; many of them take public transport whereby they spend thousands of naira each day and you see a lot of them showing signs of depression because of pressure from the society.

Similarly, Dr. Christian Omeje of Department of child dental health said it was heartrending that for the past two years, they have remained as locum resident doctors.

READ ALSOJust in: Resident doctors begin indefinite strike Wednesday

According to him, “When we came into the programme, we thought that this locum nomenclature will be erased from our appointment letters within two, three or highest six months, that we will become permanent staff. Since I entered into the medical programme I never heard of locum residency.

“Residency is a time-bound programme, so adding locum to it is making it worse

“It has been of serious psychological effect on us, answering that word locum has really dampened our spirit and it has affected us. We are also working as doctors and this situation is also affecting the quality of attention we give to our patients.

Corroborating what the doctors said,the President, Association of Resident Doctors, ARD, UNTH, Dr. Chinazom Ekwueme described the situation as pathetic and embarrassing.

Ekwueme, who was worried over the prolonged locum tag on over 150 resident doctors, urged the management to urgently resolve the issues.

“We have our own local issues, even if NARD calls off the strike, we cannot guarantee industrial harmony in UNTH. This is why we are appealing to the management to resolve these issues so that everyone will be happy.”

Meanwhile, a senior staff of the hospital, who spoke on the development, acknowledged that the doctors were being owed for three months. He, however, blamed it on a shortfall in subvention.

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