Sampson Itode, Port Harcourt
Rivers Resident Doctors at the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital have on Monday refused to join the nationwide strike embarked upon by the National Association of Resident Doctors, stating that they could abandon their patients.
The doctors said their patients needed them the most especially now that the COVID-19 pandemic was ravaging residents of the state.
Addressing newsmen in Port Harcourt, the President of the UPTH branch of the association, Dr Ameh Ameh, said the doctors’ decision followed extensive consultation with relevant stakeholders.
Ameh said, “We are using this opportunity to address the press on our stand as an association as far as the nationwide strike involving resident doctors is concerned. We have consulted our stakeholders including the Nigerian Medical Association President, who is newly elected into the association, as well as other national and state executives of the Nigerian Medical Association.
“We have decided that for now, we will not be embarking on the nationwide strike as a local chapter and the reason has to do with the fact that we understand that the leadership of the NMA is negotiating on modalities to actualise some of those demands, besides, we cannot abandon our patients now that they need us most to care for them.”
He begged the Federal Government to show empathy to the health workers and meet the demands of the resident doctors.
“The fact that we also recognise the peculiarity of the situation in the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital as well as the country at large because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the situation it has created, we realized that all health workers are playing an essential role in helping to stem the tide of the disease and to reduce the impact on all patients in the country.
“It should also be on record that the demands made by the Nigerian Association of Resident doctors, we understand them and we fully agree with them, however, when putting everything together, we saw that it won’t be in the best interest of the general population, especially Rivers people if we embark on this strike.”