Coronavirus: Enugu State Doctors Embark on Strike Amidst the Fear of Coronavirus

Resident doctors of the Enugu State University Teaching Hospital embarked on a 5-day warning strike on Saturday to press home their demand for an enhanced pay package amidst the fear of coronavirus detected in the country.

The leadership of the resident doctors declined to respond to questions on the coronavirus epidemic. But the president of the Association of Resident Doctors, ARD ESUT-TH, Dr. Chima Edoga, spoke on the strike appealed to patients to understand their plight which he said they have managed for over four years.

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Edoga stated that it is the wish of the doctors to make the hospital a center of excellence, but noted that it is only when manpower is retained that the hospital could achieve the desired dream. He said that the Resident Doctors deliberated extensively on their work conditions and patient care before arriving at the difficult decision.

They claimed that, there is a shortage of doctors in ESUT-TH as a result of continual mass exodus of doctors, despite genuine efforts made by the State Government and the Management of ESUT-TH to replace them.

The ARD ESUT-TH stated that they have been over-burdened doctors who chose to remain and care for the people, with some doctors having to take daily call duties for months, at the expense of their own health, personal and family lives. They said that as a result there is a drop in the quality of care given to the patients.

The doctors said their reasons for embarking on the warning strike include;

  • Perennial poor salary
  •  Emoluments vis-à-vis non-implementation of the Corrected Consolidated Medical Salary Structure (CONMESS) with consequential minimum wage adjustments for doctors working in ESUT-TH Parklane as is obtainable in all Federal Tertiary Health Institutions (FTHIs) and many State Tertiary Health Institutions (STHIs).

According to him, STHIs in neighboring states like Anambra (COOUTH) and Imo (IMSUTH) have made giant strides in this regard. The recent increase in their salaries by the state government, though well appreciated, will not suffice.

Edoga said there was failure of all diplomatic channels and negotiations with the Enugu State Government to address the challenges and ensure continuous delivery of standard health care services to its citizenry.

“Consequently, ARD ESUT-TH Parklane, in an unanimous decision, resolved to embark on a 5-day warning strike, starting on Saturday, February 29, 2020 at 8am to resume work on Thursday, March 5, 2020 by 8am, unless the State Government immediately implements the Corrected Consolidated Medical Salary Structure (CONMESS) with consequential minimum wage adjustments for doctors working in ESUT-TH Parklane as is obtainable in all Federal Tertiary Health Institutions (FTHIs) and many State Tertiary Health Institutions (STHIs) in Nigeria,” Edoga said.

He disclosed that the Congress of ARD ESUT-TH Parklane will re-convene after the warning strike, give notice of and proceed on an indefinite industrial action if the Government does to meet their demand.

Meanwhile, the current situation of these doctors is quite understandable but why did they choose this timing for their strike action?  I guess they want to use the current national emergency state of coronavirus as a ‘means to an end’. Let’s see if the government will dance to their tune….

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