Families and Patients stranded as doctors strike bites

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Patients in tertiary hospitals and their relatives are in agony and pains as the industrial action embarked upon by the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) enters its third day.

A visit to most of the hospitals showed that the doctors have completely withdrawn services in compliance with the indefinite nationwide strike declared by the national leadership of the union.
Daily Sun observed that skeletal services and palliative measures put in place by most hospitals have proved inadequate and unable to cushion the agony of patients. But the union has blamed the failure of the Federal Government to meet their demands for the strike.

According to NARD’s President, Dr. John Onyebuze, the doctors’ service would remain withdrawn until the demands, which include immediate enrolment under the integrated payroll and personal information system and payment of all salary shortfalls were met.
At the Federal Medical Centre, Keffi, Lagos, a patient, who gave her name as Patience, said she had waited endlessly to be attended to.

“Only the nurses came to look after us, the doctors that came were few and their ward round didn’t cover all of us. There are a lot of people with critical cases and if they are not attended to, they may die,” she wailed.
Mr. Thomas Agun who was admitted for heart and kidney related diseases said he was billed to undergo another  round of tests in the next two days after which he be re-examined by his doctor. He said that might not be impossible, except the doctors call off their strike immediately.
At the Federal Medical Centre, Owo, Ondo State,  relatives of patients have started moving them to private hospitals. Although nurses and other health workers are working, it was learnt that critical cases that needed doctors’ attention were not being attended to.

Daily Sun  gathered that many patients were relocated from the various wards to private hospitals owned by some of the striking doctors. It was also learnt that National Youths Service corps (NYSC) members serving who are medical doctors were attending to patients. Efforts by striking doctors to stop  them were foiled by the hospital management.

This is even as doctors at the Ekiti State University Teaching Hospital (EKSUTH), who were yet to join as at yesterday owing to ongoing accreditation of Surgery Department, would down tools today, president of the chapter, Dr. Tunji Olaoye, said.
“We are joining the strike on Thursday after the ongoing accreditation exercise might have ended on Wednesday. We want to appeal to our patients to bear with us, he said.”
EKSUTH’s Chief Medical Director, Dr. Kolawole Ogundipe, said efforts were being made to ensure that “the system does not collapse.”
At the University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan, it was tale of woes for patients as services remain grounded.
“The decision to embark on strike was in compliance with the directive from the NEC of the National Association of Resident Doctors issued to state chapters,” UCH’s branch president, Dr. Olusegun Olaopa, said.He described the strike as holistic as it affects every department.
Similarly, services have been paralysed in public hospitals in Kaduna State even as nurses and consultants render skeletal services to fill the vacuum created by doctors.
Although doctors at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Idi-Araba, Lagos joined the strike since Monday, the Chief Medical Director, said management would not discharge patients in the wards or turn back outpatients.
He called on doctors to explore alternative ways of pressing for their demands other than strike.

“One life lost during a industrial action cannot be regained when the strike action is over,” he said.
Meanwhile, Chairman, Medical Advisory Committee (CMAC), LUTH, Dr. Olufemi Fasanmade, in a statement yesterday, assured that adequate arrangements have been made to ensure continuity of services.
“Our patients shall continue to receive services from staff and we have medical services in place to ensure no patient suffers. We are hopeful that ongoing negotiations will be amicable and lead to a speedy resolution.”
At the National Eye Centre Kaduna, nurses, laboratory scientists, pharmacists and other health workers did whatever they could to assist patients on admission. But unlike in the past, only few patients were seen in the various wards and waiting rooms.

The Chief Medical Director, Dr. Alhassan Mamoud, said adequate arrangement had been made to ensure that consultants and nurses attended to emergency situations, even as he pleaded with the striking doctors to suspend their action in the interest of the citizens who are at the receiving end.
An outpatient, Mrs. Priciilia Ezeh, complained that no doctor attended to her after two hours.
One of the doctors who spoke on condition of anonymity at the Federal Medical Centre, Keffi, said the strike would have been averted if the Federal Government had been sincere. “We embarked on this strike because all other options had failed, it was a painful decision because patients will be at the receiving end.”
However, former personal physician to Chief Moshood Abiola and founder, National Association of Resident Doctors, Dr. Ore Falomo, condemned the strike.
He said the intention of the founding fathers of NARD must always be put in mind when considering  strike, saying that strike must be the very  last option.
The pioneer president of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) noted that the nation was already battling with the strike embarked on by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), saying that NARD’s action was an added hardship on the already hard put Nigerians.


  1. Strike everywhere...Minister of Health,where art thou?

  2. This country is finished and d rich polithieves are travelling out for medical care

  3. Doctors are not supposed to go on strike at all...


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