Geoffrey Anyanwu, Awka
Resident doctors in Anambra State have threatened to down tools over the alleged failure of the state governor, Chief Willie Obiano to fix the rot at the Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu Teaching Hospital (COOUTH), Awka.
The doctors under the aegis of Association of Resident Doctors (ARD), lamented the poor funding of the health institution and lack of implementation of the 2018 budgetary provision for COOUTH.
In December last year, the resident doctors after their general congress issued a 21-day ultimate to the governor to address all challenges confronting the medical personnel in the state hospital.
They prayed for appropriate placement of doctors on the remuneration platform as obtainable in other places and payment of 100 per cent revised CONMESS as contained in the Salary Review Committee report.
Also, they asked for adequate funding of COOUTH to enable provision of needed human and material resources for improved patient care and quality services befitting of a teaching hospital.
Furthermore, they requested a well-structured academic programme for residency and full implementation of the Residency Teaching Act recently signed into law by the Federal government.
But in a communiqué signed by the association’s President, Dr. Obinna Aniagboso and Secretary, Dr. Chidiebele Egolum and issued in Awka, ARD said the 21-day ultimatum elapsed a few days ago, hence the state government should not expect industrial harmony in the state.
The communiqué reads in part: “The COOUTH doctors are the lowest paid in Nigeria and the entire West African sub-region, earning less than 40 per cent of the recommended CONMESS salary structure.
“That in spite of the laudable efforts of the CMD to increase productivity and excellence, there remains widespread disenchantment and morale plummets amongst doctors.
“That the current situation has endangered much instability in the workforce via continual efflux of experienced personnel leading to grossly-inadequate medical personnel.”
Noting that the current paltry pay of doctors could not support Residency Training Programme (RTP) which requires periodic update courses, the association said: “It is our earnest hope that the state government graciously takes steps to address these demands in order to ensure the continued smooth running of the hospital; otherwise we may not guarantee industrial harmony.”