The National Association of Resident Doctors, NARD, began the second day of a five-day warning strike today, as patients expressed displeasure over their inability to receive treatment in public hospitals.
The situation was especially bad at public hospitals in Nasarawa State and Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital, ABUTH, Kaduna, where striking physicians abandoned patients.
The situation was not different in public hosiptals in other parts of the country, from the east, west, to the north.
The strike caused exodus of patients to private hospitals which are currently making brisk businesses, though at high cost to patients.
Relatives and friends of patients on admission were seen evacuating their loved ones to private hospitals in their state.
Recall that the resident doctors had last Wednesday, declared a five-day warning strike following the federal government’s inability to address their demands.
Issues that necessitated the strike, according to the resident doctors, include poor infrastructure, manpower shortage in the health sector, non-payment of medical residency training fund, non-increments of the Consolidated Medical Salary Structure as well as failure of state governments across the country to pay salary arrears of doctors.
When our correspondent visited the Nasarawa State government-owned Dalhatu Araf Specialist Hospital in Lafia, it was observed that no resident doctor, especially those on call, was seen at duty post.
Some major units of the hospitals such as out-of-patient, casualty and maternity, which used to record large number of patients were under lock, leaving patients unattended to.
Chairman of NARD in the state, Dr Yakubu Adeleke Ademola, who was seen going round the hospital in company of other officials to ensure resident doctors stayed away from the facility, said they had no other option than to comply with the directive on the strike.
In an interview, a patient, Baba Hassan Audu, 80, said he had been in the hospital since the morning to receive treatment but was told to leave or find another option.
“I’ve been suffering from tooth pain.” I had a doctor’s appointment, but when I arrived, I was informed that the doctors were on strike. “I can’t afford a private hospital’s medical bill,” he complained.
Mrs Halima Tanko, who called for an immediate end to the strike, expressed concern that the lives of her twin babies, who were born just a few days ago, were in risk.