The Association of Resident Doctors (ARD) in Taraba State has embarked on indefinite strike action over dearths of manpower, unpaid allowances, and others, barely three months after it signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the state government on their demands.
Other issues raised by the doctors were inadequate Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) for the fight against coronavirus, non-implementation of the reversed Hazard Allowance, and payment of COVID-19 inducement allowance as well as non-implementation of the N30,000 minimum wage.
Also outlined by the striking medical experts were insecurity as they lament the kidnap and killing of their colleagues, non-ensuring of pay parity among doctors and medical internship training.
Addressing newsmen on Friday, ARD President for Specialist Hospital Jalingo, Ahmed Gabriel, blamed the decision to embark on strike on government’s inability to honour its agreement.
Gabriel lamented that medical personnel have been exposed to the COVID-19 pandemic, adding that the total number of resident doctors in the state is not up to 90.
He said: “Base on the W.H.O standard, the ratio of doctor to patient stands at one doctor to 600 patients, but in Nigeria currently the ratio is one doctor to 6400 patients, while in Taraba state it is one doctor to 33,000 patients and this is grossly inadequate,” he said.
“Currently the number of Doctors who are in Taraba State is actually less than ninety. The Taraba State Specialist hospital created 13 years ago has 19 permanent Doctors and Doctors on contract are 18 in number.
“You cannot build a system or run a viable system with this kind of arrangement and no internship training for medical interns, both nurses and medical laboratory unlike what is experienced in sister states.
“At the moment, there is the issue of COVID-19 pandemic and already the second wave is with us. So far, no medical health worker has been paid and the second wave is with us yet our morale is low.”
While recalling that Taraba has not recorded any fatality since the outbreak of the virus, he attributed the feat to what he described as the resilience of the health workers within the state.
He regretted that the state government has not honoured its agreement by paying the COVID-19 inducement allowance for health care workers.
“Majority of the doctors employed have left the state for greener pasture due to the inability of the state to implement the salary scale for Doctors. Majority of the doctors employed are young and there is a high tendency that they will leave and we want the government to look into that quickly.
“Within the state, we have more than 25 health workers that were exposed to COVID-19 pandemic and we demand implementation of the MOU entered into with the government,” he added.