Doctors at the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University Teaching Hospital (ATBUTH), Bauchi, on Monday joined their counterparts across the country to commence on an indefinite strike to press home their demands.
The development has left many patients and their relatives stranded.
Recall that the doctors, under the aegis of National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD), had in a communiqué issued at the end of their National Executive Council meeting in Umuahia, Abia State, stated that having apparaised the performance of both the Federal and state governments on all issue affecting welfare of their members as well as government’s insincerity in implementing the Memorandum of Action after over 100 days, they resolved by vote to resume a total and indefinite strike by Monday (today).
The doctors demanded among others, the immediate withdrawal of the circular removing House Officers from the scheme of service and decried the undue hardship doctors on GIFMIS platform are facing due to the delays in payment of their salary arrears ranging from three to seven months.
NARD further expressed concern over the poor response of most state governments in domesticating the Medical Residency Training Act of 2017 while commending states like Delta and Benue, which have adopted the law.
A surveillance by newsmen at the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa Teaching hospital Bauchi, on Monday showed compliance by NARD members in the hospital as patients and their relatives complained about lack of medical services at the hospital, calling on government to immediately intervene.
Patients on admission were seen leaving the hospital for their homes or private hospitals after they were discharged by the striking doctors.
Many of the patients were forced to leave as there were no doctors at hand to attend to patients seen at the outpatient medical unit of the hospital.
A visit round the various wards in the hospital revealed a near empty wards as relatives of patients on admission were seen packing their belongings in readiness to leave the hospital, having been notified of the commencement of the indefinite strike.
A pediatric doctor who spoke to our correspondent on condition of anonymity, lamented that the strike, which he described as unfortunate, was needless if government had done the needful since NARD called off its last strike action.
“This strike is so unfortunately. In fact, it is needless if the government has done the right things they supposed to since the last time we went on an indefinite strike.
“Unfortunately, it is not every Nigerian who can afford to be treated at private hospitals. There are people whose conditions are very critical who may not afford private hospitals at this time. Some of these Nigerians may unfortunately die due to this strike.,” he said.