GELE AGBAI, Owerri
The strike by Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors (ARD), has paralyzed activities at the Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Owerri, Imo State.
The nationwide strike commenced on Thursday across the country.
Speaking with Niger Delta Connect on Friday, the President of the association in Imo State, Dr. Ogu-Jude Obidegwu said they have no choice but to comply with the directive of their national leadership.
Dr. Obidegwu said: “We are not happy, it is a path we don’t want to walk, but government should do what it should do. On the sufferings patients will encounter during the strike, don’t forget that in our Hippocratic Oath, we are also saddled with the responsibility of taking care of ourselves”.
He noted that the condition of resident doctors in FMC, Owerri is relatively better compared to their counterparts in other tertiary health institutions across the country.
According to him, the 2020 residency funding had been paid in FMC, while that of 2019 is being owed.
He added that though residency funding for 2021 is still in contention, FMC, Owerri has no issues with hazard and COVID-19 allowances for health workers, which had been paid in full.
He further disclosed that all house officers at FMC, Owerri had been paid up-to-date but he submitted that government needed to do a lot for the country’s health sector.
Obidegwu regretted that the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN) is still unable to ensure seamless central placement of resident doctors even after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) had mandated it to do so.
He also bemoaned the sufferings of members on GIFMIS platform who have not been paid salaries for four months due to delay in biometric capturing by IPPIS.
According to him, the inhuman treatment is worse in state tertiary health institutions which owe members salary arrears of upward of three to 20 months.
Dr. Obidegwu is also piqued by the non-implementation of death-in-service insurance benefits across the country, noting that about 17 doctors lost their lives in active service during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic.