By Stella Kabruk
The Association of Residents Doctors in Kaduna State, said on Tuesday that its members would proceed on an indefinite strike from Oct. 2.
President of the association, Dr Joseph Natsah-Jokshan, who made the announcement at a press briefing in Kaduna, said a 21-day strike notice had been forwarded to the government after a congress meeting of the association on Sept. 9.
He said the ultimatum was to compel the government to implement the 2011 agreement it entered with the association.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the agreement was on funding, equipping and staffing of hospitals, salary payment, residency training, and implementation of corrected Consolidated Medical Salary Structure among others.
The NARD president explained that doctors in the state were overstretched, with doctor/population ratio at one to 4,000, as against 600 recommended by the World Health Organization.
“The situation is even worse as one move to rural areas. It is therefore requisite that measures should be put in place to correct this.
“We are aware of government’s efforts to recruit about 100 doctors into the current workforce and that is highly commendable, but infrastructure and doctors welfare must also be addressed.
“Currently, Kaduna State has the lowest remuneration among other states in the North West zone and in spite of this, some of our colleagues are owed up to 10 months salary.
“As a result many doctors have left to other states with better prospect, which further compounded the issues, particularly in rural areas where most of the General Hospitals have only two doctors.
“This has resulted in a lot of quackery, as most patients are forced to seek medical care elsewhere, with detrimental outcomes and needless loss of lives,” he said.
On infrastructure, Natsah-Jokshan claimed that the state government has no single intensive care unit in any of its hospitals, while services at accident and emergency units were abysmal due to lack of necessary tools including oxygen.
“Our struggle was because we have a responsibility to care for the lives of people, but we can only achieve that with effective and efficient health care delivery system.” (NAN)