By Dennis Agbo
Resident Doctors of the Enugu State University Teaching Hospital, ESUT-TH, who withdrew their services eleven days ago, have resolved to offer skeletal services so as to help combat the growing cases of COVID-19 index cases in the state that has risen to six.
The Doctors said that even though the state government has remained adamant in their demand for commensurate pay, they will ease the industrial action, particularly as some of them were trained by the Nigeria Center for Disease Control, NCDC, on the treatment and control of Covid-19.
In a statement, on Monday, by the President of the Association of Resident Doctors, ARD ESUT-TH Chapter, Dr. Chima Edoga urged stakeholders in the state to still prevail on the government to fulfill its written and oral agreements of upgrading their welfare to what is obtainable in Teaching Hospitals in other states and across the country.
He also disclosed that a solidarity strike planned by Resident Doctors in other tertiary hospitals in the state has been put on hold by the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors, NARD, to give the state government more time to commence payment of approved doctors’ salaries.
Dr. Edoga said: “The impasse between the Enugu state government and the resident doctors of ESUT Teaching Hospital has continued to linger as the government is yet to pay the doctors the approved salaries as agreed.
This is despite the moves made by NARD, the Enugu branch of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), the Management of ESUT-TH Parklane, the Medical and Dental Consultants’ Association of Nigeria (MDCAN) ESUT-TH Chapter and numerous pleas by well-meaning residents of the coal city.
However, the striking doctors having considered the increasing number of COVID-19 in Enugu which has risen to 6 active cases as at 3rd of May, 2020 have decided to ease the withdrawal of services in bid to allow doctors who have been trained by NCDC to attend to the COVID-19 cases.
“This decision by the Association of Resident Doctors (ARD) ESUT Teaching Hospital Parklane is done in good faith and borne out of our love and respect for the good people of Enugu who have relentlessly pleaded for consideration of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
It is also a reflection of the Association’s good intentions to promote quality health care for the people of Enugu which is its sole reason for the ongoing struggle.
“It is worthy of note that the primary isolation and treatment centre for COVID-19 patients in Enugu State is situated in ESUT Teaching Hospital Parklane. Whilst our members provide optimal care for the COVID-19 patients, other aspects of our services in ESUT Teaching Hospital remain suspended pending the intervention of the state government.
“In light of the above, we appeal to the Enugu State government and the Ministry of Health to ensure that our members who are in the forefront of treating the COVID-19 patients are well protected by ensuring adequate provision of proper and complete PPEs.
Already, five medical doctors in Nigeria have been lost to the Corona virus and we pray none of ours will fall victim to the disease. Hence, we will not hesitate to withdraw our members on account of any inadequacy in basic logistics.
“We also call on the government to provide more COVID-19 test kits and testing centres in Enugu so as to make diagnosis easier and faster to the people of Enugu.
“We recommend a collection centre with full body shield, in which a glass sheath demarcates between the health workers and the patients presenting for screening during sample collection as is obtainable in some states like Ogun State.
This will help reduce the risk of transmission of the virus to the health workers engaged in the screening process.
“This our concession is to show the good people of Enugu that we are not shying away from our duties owing to the COVID-19 as speculated in some quarters. Rather, we are simply asking for what is rightfully ours, as we have been behindhand for quite a long time – over a decade!
“It now behooves the Enugu State government to do the needful as the health of our people is indeed a great treasure.
We appeal to the good people of Enugu to plead with the government to pay the doctors so as to stop this untold hardship on our people as we have bent over backwards because of Ndi-Enugu.
We also encourage the good people of Enugu to abide by all the directives and guidelines of the NCDC and the Ministry of Health during this pandemic in other to avoid the infection, which is an ill-wind that blows no one any good.
The recommendations include washing of hands, use alcohol hand sanitizers, wearing of face masks, maintaining social distancing and presenting to the hospital if one has symptoms of COVID-19.
“Finally, we remain committed to the provision of quality healthcare for our people with all vigour and vitality as long as our welfare is taken care of.”