Resident doctors in Rivers strike over unpaid COVID-19 hazard allowance

Residents doctors at the Rivers State University Teaching Hospital have joined their counterparts on a nationwide indefinite strike.

The doctors are protesting the failure of Governor Nyesom Wike’s administration in paying COVID-19 hazard allowances and refusal of the state government to domesticate the Medical Residency Training Act (MRTA) 2017, described as a roadmap for residency training.

Ella George Matthew, president of the association of resident doctors told Peoples Gazette on Tuesday that a letter sent to the hospital management and the state health ministry on the challenges of doctors were not responded to.

“We wrote a letter in June to the hospital management and ministry, notifying them of the strike from the national body and we made our point clear that we will join the strike if nothing is done. But, until August 2, we did not get any response, so we had to join the strike,” Mr Matthew told The Gazette on telephone.

In an emergency meeting held on Monday at the hospital, the Association stated that the non-promotion of doctors over the last eight to ten years had increased hardship, pain, and agony on members.

The communique of the meeting sighted by The Gazette stated the failure to accredit the department of General Surgery, Ophthalmology, Otorhinolaryngology, Maxillofacial Surgery, pathology, internal medicine, and Anesthesia, “has affected training and service delivery.”

Other issues include the non-implementation of “The wage adjusted CONMESS 2019”, and “proper placement of resident doctors who have passed their part-1 Exams.”

The association expressed worries that despite abstaining from previous nationwide strikes in 2020 and 2021, the state government remains unappreciative of doctors’ efforts amidst the COVID-19 pandemic that has killed dozens of doctors globally.

The National Association of Residents Doctors on Sunday announced a nationwide indefinite strike, protesting the neglect of its members including the exclusion of House Officers from the federal government’s scheme of service House Officers.

NARD earlier said the strike is further propelled by the refusal of the federal government to honour and implement the Memorandum of Understanding which was signed early this year.

In March, NARD embarked on a nationwide strike which was later called off ten days after, following an MOU signed with the federal government.

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