By Patrick Obia And Araga Blessing
Association of Resident Doctors, University of Calabar Teaching Hospital (ARD-UCTH) Calabar has ended it’s 2019 Annual General Meeting/Scientific Conference with award and dinner night, swearing in of newly elected President, Dr. Esuaiko Akaninyene and his exco.
The event which held at Venetian Hall Calabar was mapped to recognise those who contributed to the growth of the association such as the Chief Medical Director of University of Calabar Teaching Hospital Prof. Ikpeme A. Ikpeme, Chief Medical Advisory Committee Prof. Ogbu Ngim and NMA Cross River State chapter Chairman Dr. Agam Ayuk.
Other recipients who scooped mentorship award include Dr. Joan Ikobah Consultant Gastroenterologist Department of Paediatrics, Dr. Benjamin Ugbe Senior Medical Officer, Dr. Lawson Ekpe Head of Department Medical Pathology as well as awards to the out gone executive members and those who completed their residency program.
In an interview, the out gone ARD-UCTH President Dr. Imoke Echeng, said it was a privilege to serve the association in that capacity for the time being. He recalled some challenges faced and implore his successor, Dr. Esuaiko Akaninyene, to be proactive to management, calculative and engage in advocacies.
In his words Mr. Imoke said: “I was privileged to have been a President for a year before handing over at this dinner night, it is a great honor to have served the Association in that capacity. Yes a whole one full and eventful year we had challenges. In as much as we had these challenges there were quite lot of things we were about to achieve within this one year as a union, within this tenure we were been owed salaries arias rewinding back to 2014 and within this tenure we were able to have payment for those arias. We had quite a lot of things, we were able to have welfare benefits, supportive to various departments.
“We had one or two challenges, one of the challenges we had was that, in our center, there were some certain sponsorship we were supposed to have been paid as resident doctors. Ideally the hospital should take care of sponsoring our exams, some update courses but because we had challenges with that, this has not been paid over years and it has piled up to some huge amount of financial burden, we are also advocating for all payment to be done. Although we are still having challenges in our call rooms. With the new management we hope to have positive interaction and hoping some of these things will change.
“I will advise the new President to be more proactive to management, he need to be calm, calculative as well as note that advocacy is the key. However, there are different stages of engagement when it comes to the union and the management, the last stage is usually confrontational (strike). I hope it won’t get there, advocacy will work and shouldn’t go to the confrontational stage”.
On his part, the newly sworn in President of ARD-UCTH, Dr. Esuaiko Akaninyene, disclosed that his quest to contest for the office was born out of conviction for justice, accountability, equity and fairness of the Association adding that he wants to change the narrative and impression about resident doctors (strike actions). He however expressed fear on the magnitude of doctors trooping out of University of Calabar Teaching Hospital on daily basis which he said is as a result of the Government not understanding the impacts of resident doctors and seem to do nothing about it.
His words, “My desire to contest for President is born out of my conviction for justice, accountability, equity and fairness. I’m one who believes so much that things should be done rightly with transparency.
“I feel ARD need to get to a stage where people will hear the name ARD and then know that ARD is not about strike. It is about rendering services to the people. Let people feel the impact of ARD, these are a body of doctors. Currently people believe that ARD is about strike because when they hear strike, doctors are looking for money. So, I feel we should get to that stage where doctors render services to the public so the public get to feel the impact. The primary purpose of doctor is to render service to the people, to carter for the people and that is what I intend to do.
“We want to make ARD more welfare oriented, more business oriented. What do I mean? we try as much as possible to see how we can source for funds ourselves and then by doing that we will be able to go out to medical outreaches, radio programs, we meet the less privileged and donate what we have to them so that people will know that ARD is not about strike. We will also look inwards too, to see how we can help our people in terms of academics.
“My worry is that a lot of people are leaving the country, a lot of doctors are leaving the country because the country is not conducive. The Government don’t even understand what they are suppose to do, they don’t even understand the impacts of resident doctors, so, a lot of people are now leaving the country. My fear is, in the nearest future I don’t know whether we will have enough doctors to carter for the number of people we have in this country that is my major fear for now because like the teaching hospital, the number of people (Doctors) that are leaving on daily basis is worrisome and Government seems not to be doing anything about it and not to understand there is a problem”.
High point of the 8 days event include oath of office by new president, swearing in of new executives, comedy, music performance, spoken works amongst others.
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