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Anxiety has gripped patients and their families as doctors in public hospitals under the aegis of National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) begin a nationwide strike today.
NARD’s industrial action comes at the same time consultants in public hospitals under the umbrella of Medical and Dental Consultants’ Association of Nigeria (MDCAN) have given notice to withdraw their services nationwide as from August 16 if their complaints are not addressed.
The two unions said the decision to down tools was in protest over poor working conditions, unpaid alarm arrears and entitlements, and other issues bordering on poor remuneration, welfare and inequalities.
Both NARD and MDCAN said they were, however, committed to the smooth running of the country’s health care sector, but on the condition that their welfare is taken care off.
NARD President, Dr. Uyilawa Okhuaihesuyi, in a statement, said the decision to launch the strike was taken at the National Executive Council (NEC) meeting in Umuahia, Abia State, at the weekend.
On its part, MDCAN President, Prof. Ken Ozoilo, said the decision to down tools was taken in Jos, recently, at the end of an emergency NEC meeting.
The strike would throw the healthcare sector into crisis with patients as worse hit. Daily Sun learnt that some patients on admission in public hospitals yesterday moved out to private hospitals to continue treatment, a decision that comes with higher bills. Like in previous strikes by doctors in public service, private health clinics are expected to record bumper harvest from this month’s industrial disharmony in the public health care system. But there is anxiety of more avoidable deaths, especially in emergency situations, given the fewer number of private healthcare facilities and the capacity of personnel to absorb thousands of patients in need of treatment across the country.
Meanwhile, the Medical and Dental Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal (MDPDT), yesterday, said no fewer than 31 health professionals comprising medical doctors and dentists are to appear before it for alleged professional misconduct.
Their trial is sequel to complaints by unsatisfied patients who felt the health professionals had violated their professional ethics or code in treating them.
The MDPDT said the trial which starts today would run till Thursday and would provide opportunities for the accused doctors to defend themselves either in person or alongside their legal counsels.
A senior staff of MDCN who pleaded anonymity said of the 31 medical professionals summoned to appear before the Prof. Abba Waziri led disciplinary tribunal, 25 doctors would be appearing before the tribunal for first time while two doctors are expected to submit their written addresses for possible adoption. Four doctors are expecting final judgements from previous cases following the successful completion of their trials by the tribunal, the source said.
“Some of the doctors may be convicted because of indisputable facts about their cases, and they risk the withdrawal of their practicing licences,” he said.
He said MDCN disciplinary book recommended several punishment for erring doctors including outright withdrawal of practicing licence of any doctor convicted of gross negligence or other forms of professional misconduct.
In September 2019, the disciplinary committee ordered immediate withdrawal of the practicing licence of Adamawa-based doctor, Yakubu Hassan Koji, after he was convicted of gross professional misconduct by the tribunal.
Dr. Koji was found to have ignored some professional rules when he engaged in a surgery that led to the damage of a kidney of Isa Hamma, now deceased.
Contents provided and/or opinions expressed here do not reflect the opinions of The Pacesetter Frontier Magazine or any employee thereof.
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