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UNTH Resident Doctors’ Warning Strike Lingers for Another Day

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Resident doctors at the University of Nigeria teaching hospital (UNTH) in Ituku-Ozalla, Enugu, are currently on a one-week warning strike, citing unresolved issues related to their welfare and inability of the hospital management to provide basic facilities in the hospital.

The Association of Resident Doctors (ARD) initiated the strike during an Emergency General Meeting (EGM), which began two days ago on May 3rd and is yet to be called off.

The president and secretary of the association, Dr. Chinazom Ekwueme and Dr. Santos Ezeh, respectively, issued a signed document to journalists at the end of the EGM. The document stated that there has been a growing agitation among the association’s members on the Government Integrated Financial Management System (GIFMIS) platform, particularly among locum doctors.

During the EGM, the association demanded the payment of January salaries, hazard allowance arrears, and migration to the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS) for these members. The association also announced an initial ultimatum for strike action, which was set for February 21, 2023.

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Part of the document stated,“The Congress noted that, amidst the non-resolution of our demands, the working environment has become poor.” It included the unresolved issues to be: “Non-functional Intensive Care Unit (ICU) with certain departments unable to do procedures because of this. Hence, affecting quality patient care and our residency training.

“Inconsistent and epileptic supply of call food with no call food for several weeks in the past four months with no plan for sustainable supply of call food such that our members can do 24 hours call and even above on an empty stomach.

“Leaking and dilapidated call rooms such that some residents on call sleep in their cars while on call.

“Staff burnout with some residents being on call every other day despite the above conditions.

“Epileptic power and water supply with several black-outs in the past months. This also impacts on our ability as doctors to provide quality healthcare and also affects the patients who need these amenities.”

It also stated that, “the Congress observed with dismay the casualisation of our members who have been on locum status for over two years which has denied them of several benefits.

“The Congress noted that these our members are yet to be migrated to the IPPIS platform. They have not received January salary, nine and half months hazard allowance arrears as well as Medical Residency Training Fund (MRTF) despite being in residents who also partake fully in update courses and examinations.

The group will  reconvene on May 10, 2023.

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