The National Association of Resident Doctors’ strike hit tertiary hospitals in the country hard on Thursday as they were overwhelmed by a large number of patients, many of whom were not attended to.
The PUNCH correspondents, who monitored the strike, which began on Thursday, observed that although the health institutions deployed consultants in attending to patients, the specialists could not cope with the number of patients who thronged the hospitals.
In some hospitals, where consultants could not cope with the heavy workload, patients, whose cases were not emergencies, were turned back.
But as resident doctors in Kano, Osogbo, Port Harcourt, Jalingo, Gombe, Enugu, Ibadan, Lagos and other parts of the country joined the strike, the Federal Government expressed anger over the industrial action, which began a few hours after the NARD signed an agreement with government.
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, in a telephone interview with one of our correspondents on Thursday, threatened that government would decide the fate of the doctors, if they refused to call off the strike before the weekend.
Recall that the NARD, an association of doctors undergoing residency training, had on Sunday said it would begin “a total and indefinite strike” on Thursday (yesterday) if the Federal Government refused to accede to its demands.
Among others, the doctors are demanding payment of salaries of house officers and an upward review of their N5,000 hazard allowance.
The strike was effective in hospitals despite efforts by the National Assembly as well as the Ministry of Labour and Employment to prevent it.
Relatives withdraw patients in Kano hospitals
At the Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital and the National Orthopaedic Hospital, both in Kano, the strike paralysed activities.
Some relatives of patients on admission at the National Orthopaedic Hospital withdrew them from the hospital.