[From BONIFACE OKORO, Umuahia]
Health services at the Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Umuahia were paralyzed, Monday, as about 200 members of the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) working in the hospital embarked on an indefinite industrial action.
The nationwide industrial action which commenced Monday was called by the group to press home their demands for improved welfare of their members.
Speaking on the development, Medical Director of Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Umuahia, Prof. Onyebuchi Azubuike, admitted that the strike action adversely affected operations at the hospital.
“The entire Resident Doctors in our hospital involved in the strike are numbering about 200. As a result, the hospital is managing a skeletal service and we are trying to open up emergency units,” Azubuike said.
“The strike is affecting everything. They have messed up the system,” Azubuike lamented during an interview in Umuahia.
According to him, “when the Resident Doctors are not around, the hospital cannot operate fully.”
The Medical Director noted that Resident Doctors were the heartbeat of the medical services in every hospital in terms of being around and appealed to the federal government and the Resident Doctors to close ranks and find a common ground with a view to saving the poor who would be hardest hit by the strike action.
“My appeal is for them and the Federal Government to resolve the issue so that the patients can stop suffering,” he said, adding that the strike affects mostly the poor in the society and should be the last resort.
He advised FMC Association of Resident Doctors to toe the path of dialogue for quick resolution of the current problem.
Families begin relocating patients to other hospitals, as doctors insist ‘strike goes on’
Meanwhile, reacting to the strike called by NARD, Chairman of the association, FMC Branch, Dr. Kelechi Chigozie said the industrial action is going on as it should at the hospital in Umuahia, Abia state.
Dr. Chikezie, who made this known Tuesday in Umuahia, also said that the national body of the association has yet to reach out to the branch as to whether there has been any contact with federal government with a view to ending the two-day old strike.
“Well, the strike is ongoing as it should. The FMC branch of the association is fully with the National. So, the strike is ongoing,” Chikezie said.
A visit to FMC revealed that patients were stranded as only Consultants were attending to some patients.
Medical Director of FMC, Prof. Onyebuchi Azubuike, had on Monday, confirmed that the NARDs strike was effective in the hospital as activities were paralyzed.
“The strike is affecting everything. When Resident Doctors are not around, the hospital cannot operate fully,” Prof. Azubike had said.
As a result of the strike, many were relocating their sick relations from FMC to other private hospitals in the Abia capital city.