By Aplefe Ojong
About four hundred members of the Association of Resident Doctors, University of Calabar Teaching Hospital (UCTH) chapter, have commenced an indefinite strike over their working conditions.
President of the association, Dr. Ukweh Ikechukwu, said the total strike was sequel to a 21-day ultimatum which ended on Wednesday, July 1st, 2015.
He spoke at an emergency general meeting organized by the Association of Resident Doctors at the hospital in Calabar.
According to him, the association was compelled to embark on strike after several appeals to management of the institution yielded no positive response.
He said, “The purpose of the strike is not to punish the patients, but to press home some legitimate demands. The strike is total and there will be no skeletal services until our demands are met.
“We as an association need to send out a message because we are tired of giving haphazard services to the public. Some individuals are running this institution any how they like; they would not do this were it to be their private practices.
He said the hospital has bent backwards severally to ensure that continued service delivery was not hampered.
“We are demanding for good working conditions which include making the environment conducive, the implementation of the sponsorship arrears from 2012, upgrading and automatic stepping of our training and patient care as well as skipping for doctors.” He said.
Speaking further during an interview, Dr Ikechukwu said the hospital has been operating in a filthy and unsecured environment,
”One of our female resident doctors was raped recently while armed robbers terrorise the hospital at night and management showed little or no concerns about this.
“We can no longer operate under such an environment until the management look into the matter.”
The eleven point resolutions signed by the President, Dr Ukweh Ikechukwu and Secretary General, Dr Uket Helen reads in part:
“That management should take urgent steps to provide consumables, stock the pharmacy, improve laboratory services and radiology department for patient care and quality training for her residents.
“That management should as a matter of urgency pay off completely all sponsorship arrears owed residents since 2012, this is what is obtainable in all other tertiary hospitals.
“That management should pay members the two months relativity arrears. That should ensure that all resident doctors are stepped up automatically.”
They implored management to commenced the payment of skipping salaries to doctors.
That, having given the management a 21 days ultimatum to sort our observations and the failure of management to implement even one out of all our demands, we unanimously agreed to proceed on a total and indefinite strike commencing from 12noon, 2nd July, 2015 till all our demands are met.
Efforts to speak with the Hospital Chief Medical Director, Dr Thomas Agan were unsuccessful as he was said to have traveled to Abuja for an official engagement while all calls and text messages sent to Chairman, Medical Advisory Committee (CMAC) was not replied.
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