Over 200 resident doctors in Alex Ekwueme University Teaching Hospital Abakaliki, (AE-FUTHA), Ebonyi State, yesterday, embarked on a three-day warning strike to demand immediate payment of all arrears of their salary shortfalls.
The development has paralysed activities in the hospital with some patients leaving in search of medical attention and others completely stranded.
President of Association of Resident Doctors (ARD), Alex Ekwueme Federal University Teaching Hospital Abakaliki (AE-FUTHA), Dr. Osuagwu Philip, said the strike was necessitated by refusal of the hospital management to respond to their plights.
He expressed dismay over the refusal of the hospital management to pay the arrears after over N50 million was allegedly released since last year.
Dr. Philip told Daily Sun that all efforts by the association to negotiate with the hospital management towards the payment of the arrears shortfall had failed hence their resort to striking.
He said resident doctors in the hospital will embark on indefinite strike if after the three-day warning strike the management still failed to pay the money.
He said: “This strike is total and we are not offering any service. The only people that will be working in this hospital are the consultants. It involves everybody under the Association of Resident Doctors that is in AE-FUTHA. We appeal to the masses to understand the challenges we face. Our welfare has been neglected for two long and we tried to show this understanding and we keep working even under these stressful conditions. We all know how endemic Lassa fever is in the hospital. But despite all that we put in to ensure that this hospital keeps working, our efforts are not recognised.”
But the CMD, Dr Emeka Ogah, said management did not owe resident doctors shortfall arrears, rather what he described as skipping arrears.
He disclosed that the N50 million the doctors claimed was released by the Federal Government for payment of their arrears was for the salaries of none regular staff.
“Skipping arrears was not paid that’s why they are on strike. The hospital is not closed down.”