Geoffrey Anyanwu, Awka and Stanley Uzoaru, Owerri
Consultant doctors in Odumegwu Ojukwu University Teaching Hospital (COOUTH), Amaku, Awka, in Anambra State, have commenced an indefinite strike.
The strike might paralyse medical activities at the hospital as the consultants have been managing the situation since resident doctors embarked on strike.
The industrial action, which was at the instance of Medical and Dental Consultants Association of Nigeria (MDCAN), COOUTH chapter, came seven weeks into an action by the Association of Resident Doctors (ARD) of the institution.
MDCAN, COOUTH had on May 31 issued a 21-day notice and embarked on warning strike on June 3.
The association, in a statement, yesterday, entitled: “Notice of resumption on an indefinite strike,” said it was going on strike because of non-implementation of consolidated medical salary scale and absence of condition of service, which had resulted in stagnation of its members.
It noted that the decision to embark on the indefinite strike was reached at its emergency meeting held at the Histopathology Auditorium Complex, COOUTH on June 21.
The statement signed by Drs. Chukwudi Okani and Obiora Ejiofor, chairman and secretary respectively, condemned what the association called government’s insensitivity to the doctors’ demand and vowed not to be part of any discussion that would not address their demands.
“After due notices to government and seven-day warning strike to alert them on the seriousness of our demands, it seems government has not taken us seriously.
“Consequently, arising from our emergency meeting, our members resolved as follows, that all medical doctors with COOUTH, Amaku-Awka can no longer condone the situation. The least qualified medical doctors (house officers) in federal institutions and other state-owned teaching hospitals in Nigeria earn better than the most qualified medical doctors (consultants/ professors) in the employ of COOUTH.
Meanwhile, Vice Chancellor of the Federal University of Technology,Owerri (FUTO), Prof. Francis Eze, has blamed the slow pace of research by Nigerian universities on poor funding.
Eze, who addressed newsmen on his third year anniversary as the seventh substantive VC of FUTO, yesterday, in Owerri, pointed out that research projects were huge capital intensive, regretting that universities in the country were poorly funded to meet up with the president’s observation.
His remark is coming at the heels of President Muhammadu Buhari’s condemnation of poor research by Nigeria universities.
While thanking the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASSU) for its contribution to education in the country, he appealed to the Federal Government to make funds readily available for institutions.
“A laboratory costs about N3 billion, they have to invest in research. If you do, you reap the benefit. It’s a long term thing.
“They should help us have functional research laboratories. We have some of the best brains in this school; we have tried to power tricycle with solar energy, convert generator that runs on fuel to gas,” Eze said.
Eze further explained that the university is presently partnering some institutions around the globe to achieve more innovations.
“We have developed something on malaria prevention and we are currently partnering with Liverpool School of Medicine to see how that can be deployed,” Eze explained.