Jeff Amechi Agbodo, Onitsha and Obinna Odogwu, Awka
Anambra House of Assembly has passed into law, a bill establishing the Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University Teaching Hospital (COOUTH), Amaku, Awka.
The bill, sponsored by state government was passed during the plenary shortly after its consideration by the House.
The passage of the bill was sequel to the consideration of a report of the House Committee on Health on the bill to establish COOUTH to provide related purposes (Repeal and Re-Enactment), 2019.
Speaker Uchenna Okafor, who presided over the committee of the whole led lawmakers through lines, phrases and clauses contained in the bill to enable them make adequate changes to reflect what was best for the hospital and the people. The bill was, however, passed unanimously in plenary by lawmakers through a voice vote.
The purpose of the bill was to provide for the repeal and re-enactment of the COOUTH, Amaku, Awka to provide the highest standards of medical services, training of undergraduate medical students, post graduate medical doctors, and also run certified and degree programmes for nurses.
The bill also made provision for the teaching hospital to permit research into all aspects of medical and allied services. It also provided for the composition of a Governing Board and Medical Advisory Committee for the teaching hospital.
Majority Leader of the House, Mr. Nnamdi Okafor, explained that the essence of the bill was to upgrade the facility to the status of a teaching hospital to meet health needs of Ndi Anambra.
Meanwhile, about 45 medical doctors have resigned their appointments with COOUTH in the last two years, according to the Chairman of Awka chapter of Medical and Dental Consultants Association of Nigeria (MDCAN), Dr. Chukwudi Okani.
The revelation came barely 11 days into an indefinite strike declared by the union following failure of government to meet their demands for improved working conditions.
Out of the 45, Dr. Okani explained that 35 were resident doctors, while 10 were consultants. He said there were indications that more doctors could leave the hospital to take up appointments in other establishments with better working conditions.
“We are not happy with the development in the hospital; the strike is still on, consultants who own the patients are not working. We have not heard anything concrete as regards our demands, all we have heard is rumors, but we have not seen any changes in our salaries. As I speak, about 35 resident doctors and 10 consultants have left the hospital to other places in the last two years.
Commissioner for Health, Dr. Vincent Okpala said the state government was working hard to ensure that there were no further loss of experienced manpower in the teaching hospital.
He said the issues that led to the doctors’ industrial action were being addressed by the government through the committee it set up to resolve the issues.
“The poor working condition is being addressed, this will help retain the doctors that we have, that is what the Gov. Willie Obiano administration is working to achieve,” he said.