APRIL 6, 2021
From Augustine Okezie, Kolade Adeyemi, Oyebola Owolabi, Bassey Anthony, Sunny Nwankwo, Damian Duruiheoma, Okungbowa Aiwerie, Mike Odiegwu, Segun Showunmi, David Adenuga, Joel Duku, Tajudeen Adebanjo, Toba Adedeji, Uja Emmanuel and Rosemary Nwisi
The National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) strike is biting harder in states. Patients are not being attended to in many Federal Government-owned hospitals, except for skeletal services offered by consultants.
In Katsina, patients were seen yesterday deserting the Federal Medical Centre (FMC) and other federal medical agencies in search of medical attention at the Katsina State-owned general hospitals and privately-owned clinics.
The Chairman of Joint health workers Union (JOHESU), Comrade Shammsudeen Lawal, told The Nation, said private clinics and the state-owned General Hospitals were getting over-crowded with patients.
He decried the response of the Federal Government to the demands made by NARD, adding that it would further aggravate the situation.
The Chairman of the Nigerian medical Association (NMA), Katsina State, Dr Yahaya Sodangi, condemned the call on doctors to foot the bill of their professional training.
One of the privately-owned clinics visited by The Nation, Alheri Clinics, was brimming with customers who had thronged the place to seek medical attention. One the patients at Alheri Clinics said he relocated from the FMC because of the strike.
The University of Jos Teaching Hospital (JUTH) was experiencing tough and hectic situation occasioned by the strike. Services are nearly grounded. The services rendered by the consultants to patients are at its lowest ebb.
The President of the Medical and Dental Consultants Association of Nigeria (MDCAN), Prof Kenneth Ozoilo, who is a Consultant in JUTH, said: “The strike is on full effect. It is on, the effect is telling on the patients. We only care of inpatients. We are not admitting new patients. But we are still running the clinic on patients that are already on admission. It is really biting hard, as the hospital is nearly grounded.”
At some private hospitals visited on the Plateau, traffic of patients had increased tremendously.
The Alimosho General Hospital in Igando lacked its usual bustle when our correspondent visited yesterday afternoon. A few patients were attended to at the accident and emergency clinic.
A nurse said there was not much activity because of the holiday. He added that patients had not been ejected as the medical officers and consultants had done their ward rounds and were attending to them.
A nurse at the cardiovascular ward said: “As we speak now, doctors on duty are attending to an emergency at the theatre.”
The University of Uyo Teaching Hospital (UUTH) in Akwa Ibom is not admitting new patients. Doctors have deserted the federal hospital over the nationwide strike.
Our correspondent who visited the hospital yesterday observed that the Accident and Emergency Unit (A&E) was closed as patients were not attended to. Only nurses and auxiliary staff were seen at the various wards and units of the hospital.
A man on mufti, who said he was a medical doctor with the UUTH, said he was not on duty but only ‘sneaked in’ to attend to a patient in critical condition.
The doctor, who refused to be named, said only patients in critical condition were allowed to remain in the hospital, where their personal doctors visit them from “time-to-time”.
”The strike action is ongoing as you can see. However, nurses and some senior doctors are still on duty but how far can they go with resident doctors?” he said.
The situation has caused private hospitals in the state to be overstretched with patients. For instance, the St Lukes Hospital, Annua Offot Uyo among others, battled yesterday with the number of patients who flooded the hospital for medical attention.
Dr. Ekemini Udoh, the Akwa Ibom branch president of NARD, maintained that the strike would continue until the Federal Government accedes to the requests of resident doctors.
Patients on admission in government hospitals in Abia State are leaving in droves to mission and private hospitals.
Our correspondent gathered that some of the patients with serious medical ailments at the Abia State University Teaching Hospital (ABSUTH) were forced to seek medical help elsewhere.
Some personnel of ABSUTH, who spoke to our correspondent, said most of the patients at the hospital were those who could not afford payment of private hospital medical bills.
Most relatives have evacuated patients to private hospitals in Federal Government-owned hospitals in Imo State.
When The Nation visited the Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Owerri, only very senior nurses were attending to a few patients remaining in the hospitals.
It was observed that apart from Male Orthopaedic Ward of the FMC, where only five patients were still receiving treatment, other wards such as Accident and Emergency Department and Maternity Ward amongst others had their patients evacuated by their relatives to private hospitals.
Also, at Emergency Paediatric Unit (EPU) of FMC, only abandoned patients or those who had been discharged but were not able to offset their hospital bills were still in the Wards 12 and 13.
The situation has led to most private hospitals being overwhelmed as the patients in the hospitals have heavily increased.
At Holy Rosary Hospital, Emekuku; St. Mary’s Hospital Umuowa, Orlu and Umezuruike Hospital, Owerri, our correspondent observed a beehive of activities as patients and their relatives took over available spaces in the hospitals.
The effects of the strike are biting harder with public hospitals resorting to turning away patients. Many patients have turned to private hospitals.
A source at the Federal Medical Centre, Asaba and Asaba Specialist Hospital said the burden of work is on the few consultants available.
She said consultants have limited the number of patients the can attend daily to twenty patients, adding that the consultants run three shifts daily.
A medical doctor at a popular private hospital in Asaba, reported a spike in the number of out- patients, stressing that the clinic is struggling to cope with rising numbers of patients.
The University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH) is offering skeletal services to patients despite the indefinite strike.
The Public Relations Officer of the hospital, Mr Joshua Uwaila, in a statement, said the hospital had been carrying out skeletal services, within the depleted human resources available, to mitigate the impacts of the strike on patients.
“In the meantime, several patients have had to seek medical care in other hospitals which are not affected by the strike,” he said.
Patients at various wards in the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital (UPTH) are stranded following the ongoing strike by the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD).
Investigations revealed that most of the wards were scanty as only persons, who could not afford private hospitals remained in their sickbeds waiting for an end to the strike.
At the Hemodialysis Department, a patient, who spoke in confidence, said since the strike commenced, only nurses had attended to them.
“The only saving grace is that we were here and received treatments before the strike started, it would have been very bad. Since the strike started, only nurses have been attending to us. There is no doctor or consultant to check us,” she said.
A patient, Mrs. Ekadem, broke down in tears saying she was due for a surgery but that the strike stopped the process.
Activities at the University College Hospital (UCH) Ibadan remain paralysed. The hospital was deserted yesterday as little attention was giving to patients in some of the wards such as out-patient clinic, children clinic, haematology unit, and cardiac care unit.
The Head of Information Department of UCH, Toye Akinrinlola, said all the emergency outlet of the hospital such as the antenatal unit, Intensive Care Unit (ICU), Children Emergency unit and others are still working, adding that consultants, nurses, physiotherapist and the laboratory workers were helping out.
Patients have started trooping in to some private hospitals, such as Molly Specialist Hospital, Gate, Ibadan, Group Medical hospital, Mokola, Ibadan, Alafia Hospital, Mokola, Ibadan, and Cottage Hospital.
Bauchi, Yobe, Osun, Benue
Consultants have taken charge at the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa Teaching Hospital (ATBUTH), Bauchi and Federal Medical Center in Azare, Katagum.
The Chief Medical Director (CMD) of ATBUTH, Bauchi, Dr Jibrin Yusuf Bara, said it mobilised its Consultants to keep the situation under control.
“You know there are three group of doctors working in the hospital, we have residents doctors, consultants and House officers so those on strike are the residents doctors, the consultants are managing the patients with the few house officers on ground,” Dr Bara said.
In Yobe, resident doctors are not on strike. The State Chairman of the association, Dr. Audu Ado, told The Nation that members have no genuine or any moral reason to join the strike.
“The truth is that we have looked at the issue of the strike declared by our National body but we will not be fair to our state government (Yobe) if we decide to join the strike. The reason is that it is just in the last three months that the state government adjusted our salaries to Consolidated Medical Salary Structure and embarking on a strike now will just be morally wrong,” Dr. Ado said.
In Osun, more patients are seeking help at the state-owned UNIOSUN Teaching Hospital. the Chairman, Medical Advisory Committee of UNIOSUN Teaching Hospital, Dr Tunde Afolabi, he disclosed that the hospital record more numbers of patients since the resident doctors of neighbouring teaching hospitals went on strike last week Thursday.
He said: “Since doctors in other teaching hospitals went on strike, we record more numbers of patients in our hospital. We have to be moving patients directly from our Accident and Emergency Unit to create capacity. It has been a big challenge with the numbers of patients we attend to recently.
“Our wards are fully occupied now, our male ward is filled. We are trying to transport patients to other wards.”
In Benue, the doors of the Federal Medical Makurdi (FMC) and Benue State University Teaching Hospital (BSUTH) Makurdi remain shut against patients.
SOURCE: THE NATION