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General News of Tuesday, 10 August 2021


Doctors’ strike: Patients, staff abandon ATBUTH Bauchi as industrial action lingers


As the indefinite strike embarked on by resident doctors across the country enters its ninth day, the industrial action has taken its toll on the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University Teaching Hospital (ATBUTH), Bauchi, as patients and staff have abandoned the hospital as of Tuesday.

The doctors, under the aegis of the National Association of Residents Doctors (NARD) had on Monday, 2nd August 2021 resumed the indefinite strike they suspended on 10th April 2021 over the government’s failure to implement the Memorandum of Action signed with the association among other reasons.

The Minister of Labour and Productive, Dr Chris Ngige, had Friday last week informed that government would invoke the provision of the law on no-work-no-pay, directing Chief Medical Directors of tertiary hospitals in the country to open attendance register with a view to paying the striking doctor strictly on attendance.

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When DAILY POST visited ATBUTH on Tuesday to observe the level of compliance with the directive, it was discovered that the hospital was devoid of its usual hustle and bustle before the strike as doctors refused to come to work, while patients have completely deserted the facility

All the wards visited in the hospital were completely empty as DAILY POST gathered that all patients on admission had since been discharged due to the ongoing strike, while a few nurses were seen virtually doing nothing as there were no patients to attend to.

The outpatient medical department of the hospital was equally empty as of the time of DAILY POST’s visit. there were no patients was around, even as there were no doctors to attend to them.

While laboratories were open, staff had little or nothing to do, though a handful of people were seen in one if the laboratories collecting the results of the tests they did.

However, some tuberculosis and HIV patients were seen at the TB-DOTS clinic, where an official informed that though there was no doctor to attend to them, the patients already on medications were being given their drugs.

The official who spoke with DAILY POST anonymously said, “We are operating here despite the ongoing doctors’ strike to give patients on medications their drugs.

“This is very important because the affected patients have already been booked for collection of their drugs. We cannot because of the strike deprive them of their drugs. That is why you see this clinic open today.”

Attempts made to speak with the Chief Medical Director of the hospital, were futile as it was gathered that he has travelled out of town.

Meanwhile, the local branch of NARD has said it is not bothered about the government’s directive on “no-work, no-pay”, declaring that the strike is not going to be called off until the government does the needful.

According to an official of the association in ATBUTH, who asked not to be named, “we have heard about FG’s (Federal Government’s) directive on the ‘no-work, no-pay’ but we remain unmoved. This will not force us to call off the strike.

“Frankly speaking, it will be difficult for the government to replace about 16,000 doctors involved in the ongoing strike. In the first place, where are they going to get such a number from? Instead of arm twisting us to resume work, the government should do the needful on the reasons we are on strike.”

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