Strike won’t be called off unless gov’t does the needful – UPTH doctors

Tina Amanda

As Resident Doctors embark on an indefinite strike Nationwide, the Federal Government has been urged to be sincere with the genuine demands of Doctors who stake their lives for the well-being of the populace.

In an interview with our correspondent Tina Amanda, State President, Association of Resident Doctors, University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital, UPTH, Dr Solomon Amadi, lamented that the Federal Government has abandoned the welfare of Doctors and has also failed to address vital issues confronting them.

According to him, Doctors are yet to be paid their COVID-19 allowances, hazard allowances, salary arrears and several other benefits.

“Like in UPTH, there are resident doctors who are being owed three to four months salary arrears, when you call the federal government to do the needful about the payments, they intend to ignore it.

“The medical residence training funding for the year 2020, the federal government has been unable to come up with anything concrete or implement it. The group insurance is abandoned because it is yet to be implemented. Most resident doctors across the nation are being owed for one thing or the other.

“They initially agreed with resident doctors and health workers to pay us covid-19 allowance for six months and after three months they will come back to negotiate how many percentages they will pay for the remaining three months, and also negotiate an upgrade of our hazard allowance.

“This is September and over sixty per cent residents doctors have not been paid the COVID allowance, the government should be sincere, they should live up to their words. If they are not paying the allowances, they should tell us and give us reasons why they chose not to pay.

“The doctors in state tertiary health institutions receive far less salaries unlike their counterpart in federal tertiary health institutions. We want the federal government to make the salaries to be of the same grade.

“Doctors are humans, and in UPTH for the past few months, we have been begging for I.T doctors to come and the resident doctors employed six months ago have not been paid. Imagine the situation, people are busy saying why embark on strike, so doctors should be allowed to die and their families should suffer?.

He urged the public not to blame Doctors for the strike action, but rather demand quality healthcare service delivery from those they voted into power.

“People should not blame doctors for going on strike especially in the COVID-19 period, they should ask for their healthcare from the people they voted in. Instead of asking the government, they are complaining about why we are going on strike for something that is inevitable and has lingered for long.

“We threatened to go on strike twenty one days ago, on this same issue and this government seems not to be doing anything on it. Until Government resolves these issues, the strike will not be called off”