The ESUTH Parklane branch of the Association of Resident Doctors today, 2 March 2020, appealed to the Enugu State Government not to escalate the issues that pushed its members to a warning strike by threatening to sack its members who join in the strike action.

Dr. Chima E. Edeoga, president of the ARD in ESUTH, reacted this morning to the directive given by the State Ministry of Health for resident doctors to either go back to work or face severe sanctions should any patient die from negligence occasioned by the strike.

“We strongly appeal to the Enugu State Government not to pursue further escalation, but to remain committed towards finally resolving the protracted problems facing doctors in ESUT-TH Parklane,” he said.

Rather than threaten to sack its members, Edeoga encouraged the State Government to instead “borrow a leaf from the Osun State Government that recently approved 100% CONMESS for doctors in the Osun State, a news that has received wide commendations by Nigerians.”

The statement, entitled “Strike Action by Resident Doctors in ESUT-TH Parklane: Facts and Truths” was issued in response to issues and allegations contained in yesterday’s statement by the Enugu State Ministry of Health.

The response by the resident doctors is reproduced in full below:

“On Saturday, February 29, 2020, following its first Ordinary General Meeting (OGM), the Association of Resident Doctors (ARD) ESUT-TH Parklane embarked on a second warning strike after giving the Enugu State Government 24-hour notice, (in addition to the over 1-year notice following the first warning strike embarked upon by the Association).

“The first warning strike by the Association was embarked on November 28, 2018 following the expiration of a 21-day ultimatum issued to the Enugu State Government on October 9, 2018 to honour the promises of improved salaries and emoluments made to the Association since November 2016.

“It is important to note that the then Enugu State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Sam C. Ngwu, wrote a Letter (with reference number MH/COM/68/X/472), appealing to the Enugu State Governor, to consider and approve the agreement reached after a stakeholders meeting, that extensively deliberated on the subject of improved pay for Doctors in ESUT-TH Parklane.

“During that first warning strike, the Enugu State Government continued to make promises, which made the Association to suspend the industrial action and not embark on an indefinite industrial action, initially planned for December 26, 2018, just to give the State government ample time to gazette and implement their numerous promises to the Association.

“Between 2018 and now, the ARD ESUT-TH has written and met several times with the State Government, to appeal to the government to honour her promises.

“On September 15, 2019, the parent body of the Association, the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) wrote a compelling appeal letter, with reference No. NARD/SG/2018-2019/150919/306, asking the Enugu State government, to commence the process of implementation of 100% Corrected Consolidated Medical Salary Scale (CONMESS), as is obtainable in all Federal Tertiary Health Institutions (FTHIs), and many State Tertiary Health Institutions (STHIs).

“The last negotiations with the Enugu State Government held on  November 15, 2019, during which the State Government set up yet another committee to finally solve the perennial salary problems of the Association. The impact of that latest Committee is yet to be felt. It is also important to note that during the meeting, we appealed for the government to begin implementation of our demands by February 2020.

“On November 22, 2019, the Association wrote a letter (with Reference No. ESUTH-SG/019/040) to the Enugu State Government, following its Emergency General meeting (EGM) that held on November 19, 2019, asking the Government to put doctors in Parklane at par with doctors in FTHIs and many STHIs, by paying 100% corrected CONMESS, particularly to reduce the incessant exodus of resident doctors from ESUT-TH Parklane which has caused a nose-dive in health care delivery in ESUT-TH Parklane.

“It is rather sad that the Enugu State Government has continuously refused to honour her promises, resorting to threats and intimidations.

“Efforts made by the Enugu State Government to replace doctors that have left Parklane met a low interview turn out. Few of the doctors who were appointed eventually commenced work in October 2019. Owing to delayed payment of salary and the enormous workload, a significant number of these left for other institutions. This further put pressure on those on ground causing constant risk to their mental and physical health, as well as putting the health of patients at risk as errors are not uncommon while working under such very stressful conditions. Those who stayed back were encouraged and supported by the ARD to diligently dispense their duties as is the tradition of Resident doctors in ESUT-TH Parklane. Owing to pressure mounted by ARD ESUT-TH Parklane, these new resident doctors were paid just a month Salary in February 2020 are still being owed 4-month’s pay. Sadly, many other doctors in ESUT-TH Parklane had their February 2020 Salaries slashed by almost 50%, with no strong reasons given as to why.

“This second warning strike is a last-ditch effort to make the State Government to live up to its promises, and rescue ESUT-TH Parklane from the largest and greatest exodus of trained and qualified doctors in recent times, such of which will dwarf the current predicament of COOUTH in Anambra State. ESUT-TH Parklane ought to be a center for excellence in health care delivery, for the good people of Enugu state and beyond. As a city on a hill, Enugu should be a beacon of hope and not dismay.

“We strongly appeal to the Enugu State Government not to pursue further escalation, but to remain committed towards finally resolving the protracted problems facing doctors in ESUT-TH Parklane. The State Government should abandon its threat to sack members of the Association, who have sacrificed their precious years and lives in caring for the health and wellbeing of the good people of Enugu State. The Government should borrow a leaf from the Osun State Government that recently approved 100% CONMESS for doctors in the Osun State, a news that has received wide commendations by Nigerians.

“Doctors in ESUT-TH Parklane have been in the forefront of the burdensome healthcare delivery to the teeming number of patients in Enugu state. They are paid almost half of what their contemporaries are paid, both within and outside the state. However, we have remained poised in delivering quality health care to the good people of Enugu State, even in the face of Lassa Fever and Coronavirus outbreaks. All we ask is for the State Government to provide the enabling environment and pay doctors in ESUT-TH Parklane, 100% Corrected CONMESS

“The duly elected General Secretary of the ARD ESUT-TH Parklane, Dr. Ofonere Chukwunonso N., has been in close contact with the State Government since the notice of the second warning strike was given, contrary to reports making rounds. It is important to clearly state that Dr. Ofonere met every requirement, as contained in the Constitution of ARD ESUT-TH Parklane, to be duly elected (and recognized by NARD) as the General Secretary of the Association and everyone should be properly guided and well informed.

“We regret the inconveniences and sufferings this preventable second strike action might be causing the good people of Enugu State. The end of this crises lies squarely in the hands of the Enugu State Government.

  • Dr. Chima Emmanuel Edoga (President, ARD ESUT-TH Parklane)
  • CoverPhoto: ESUTH Hospital (c) Nana Boi TV