Paul Osuyi, Asaba
Doctors at the Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Asaba, Delta, have supported the three-day warning strike to be embarked upon by the state chapter of the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA).
The doctors, under the aegis of Association of Resident Doctors (ARD), Asaba FMC branch, told journalists that they will be joining the strike which begins today, in solidarity with their colleagues under the state employment.
Some of the grievances which are COVID-19-related, include the shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE), and lack of funding of tertiary institutions needed to manage and curtail the ravaging pandemic.
Addressing a press conference, yesterday, President of ARD, Asaba FMC branch, Nwabunor Osifo, insisted that whatever affected their colleagues also affected them.
Osifo said failure on the part of government to pay the promised COVID-19 hazard inducement allowance and tax rebate to the front line health workers, were also part of their grievances.
“Government has only paid just two months (April and May) of the COVID-19 inducement allowance and promised to pay the allowance for six months,” he said.
On the lack of PPE, the ARD president said doctors were constantly exposed to the deadly virus in the line of duty due to the shortage of the equipment, lamenting that over 1,200 doctors across the country have so far contracted the virus, out which 18 have succumbed to it.
“Just recently, the state NMA lost a doctor to COVID-19. It is not funny, we cannot continue to die in the line of duty. COVID-19 is real, it lives among us. We must abide by the set protocols so that together we can combat this ugly virus,” he said.
Osifo clarified that doctors on duty at COVID-19 isolation centres were exempted to give the three-day warning strike a human face.
He warned that if government failed to meet their demands, there will be a full blown strike that will paralyse the entire health sector which will begin 14 days from the end of the three-day warning strike.
Osifo expressed confidence that the Governor Ifeanyi Okowa-led administration will meet their demands to avert industrial crisis in the critical sector.