Resident Doctors in the University of Uyo Teaching Hospital have weekend embarked on indefinite strike action demanding for better working condition.
In a press briefing at the UUTH, the President of the Association of Resident Doctors in the state, Dr. Christian Adeneye who was flanked by other members of the association, said that notice of total and indefinite strike action dated; 3rd August, 2016, had been served on the Chief Medical Director of the UUTH, Prof. Etete Peters.
The aggrieved Doctors accused the management of University of Uyo Teaching Hospital of refusing to comply with the directives and resolutions reached in a joint meeting of Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors; the Speaker of the House of Representatives; the Senate/House of Representative Committees on Health; the Committee of Chief Medical Directors; the Budget Office, Federal Ministry of Finance; and the National Salary Income and Wages Commission.
They stated that in the said meeting, it was resolved that all federal Tertiary Hospitals should commence payment of full salaries to all doctors from July, 2016.
The doctors maintained that; “our institution remains one of the three Hospitals in the country that has vehemently refused to implement the rightly entry point and arrears accrued from same to all House Officers as directed by the federal Ministry of Health.
The full text of the press briefing read; “The Association has noted with dismay the unfair denial of terminal salaries to six of our House Officers for the month of June, 2016, stampeding them into working without pay, in spite of the plea made by the Association in the letter dated 18th July, 2016, with reference No.: ARD/SEC/07/026.
“It is grossly displeasing to the Association that relativity arrears of January, 2015 which was disbursed by the federal government of Nigeria to beneficiaries are yet to be paid by our institution up till date.
“The Association has observed with suspicion the inconsistent remittance of Pension Contribution of members and counterpart funding by federal government to our Pension Fund Administrators.
“It has been noted with chagrin the marked disparity in taxation of members on IPPIS and GIFMIS platforms, plunging our members on GIFMIS platform into paying taxes twice as those on IPPIS platform. This is further corroded by the inability of our members to access their tax clearance.
“The association decries the laxity on the part of Hospital management to sponsor our members for update courses and exams for the past eight months and inability to pay arrears to members who were upgraded.
“Congress is aware of the progress made so far on implementation of call meal for doctors in the Hospital but, however, appalled at the pace of progress since commencement of negotiations. It is unbelievable that our doctors have been taking calls for the past one year without call meal.
“Congress also frowns at the persistent neglect, lack of maintenance, failure to provide power and water to House officers’ Quarters which have engendered difficult habitation, thereby hampering the efficiency in service delivery in the hospital.
“Ipso facto, in consonance with NARD directives and in the light of aforementioned observations, the congress resolved to proceed on total and indefinite strike from today 3rd August, 2016, until the above issues are resolved,” the statement signed by the president and secretary-general of the association, Dr. Christian Adeneye and Dr. Aniekan Utuk respectively, stated.
Meanwhile, in a swift reaction, the Chief Medical Director of the UUTH, Prof. Etete Peters, said that the Health Institution cannot meet up the high demands of the striking doctors because of the shortfall of the institution’s annual budget for 2016.
He stated that most of the demands of the striking doctors were nationwide issues, noting that management of the UUTH was ready to address the doctors demands but, it ran out of sufficient funding as a result of the cut in the 2016 budget of the UUTH by the Ministry of Budget and National Planning.
Etete Peters said appealed to the doctors to call off the strike and return to work as the management of the UUTH was ready to go into dialogue with the doctors. He called on well-meaning individual in the state to intervene in the funding of the institution.
By Emmanuel UDOATTA/Mercy IKPA