COVID-19: Nasarawa Govt begs as resident doctors threaten  strike

From Esther Akaa, Lafia

Nasarawa State Government has appealed to resident doctors working in the Dalhatu Araf Specialist Hospital (DASH), Lafia, to suspend their plan to embark on strike for the common good of people.

The Chief Medical Director, DASH, Dr Ikrama Hassan, made the appeal recently at a press conference held at the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) Press Centre in Lafia.

Dr Hassan said the state government was worried about the health of citizens, especially during the second wave of COVID-19 pandemic, calling  on the doctors to consider lives of the people and protect them first, before any other interest.

According to him, the management of DASH, following an alarm raised on the reality of the second wave of COVID-19, immediately, employed  various measures to protect health workers, by providing all the necessary equipment needed to  respond to the pandemic.

“The hospital quickly mobilised funds and began implementation of the robust plans whose primary aim was protection of our staff.

“Personal protective Equipment (PPE) was made adequate and appropriate for all areas requiring them. The hospital procured adequate face masks/face shields that could last months. There were also cloth masks for patients and their relations. Staff were instructed to insist on patients and their relations using masks while being attended to.

“The entire hospital workforce was trained on COVID-19 during the first wave. This was repeated in late November/early December, 2020. Elements of lassa fever and yellow fever control were also incorporated as few cases had been reported in the country,” he said.

The CMD stated that embarking on strike would amount to adding more pressure on the system, as according to him, the state government was making efforts towards addressing their demands.

He assured that the hospital would use the present committee on residency training and presence of all  other resident doctors in the hospital to have a thorough review of the system, in view to having a better working relationship and a stronger training programme for the doctors.

The Association of Resident Doctors (ARD) in the state had in a communiqué issued on 5 February, 2021 directed its members to proceed on a three day warning strike on Monday, 8 February, 2021.

The communiqué stated that the management of DASH failed in the protection of health workers and by extension, the people of Nasarawa State against COVID-19 infection among other issues raised by the association.

It, therefore, gave the management of the hospital a 14- day ultimatum beginning from 8 February to address their issues, failure of which shall result in total and indefinite industrial action, at the expiration of the said date.

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