By Ikeugonna Eleke
The Association of Resident Doctors (ARD) of Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University Teaching Hospital, COOUTH has suspended its two-month old strike action.
A press statement signed by the president and secretary of the group, Dr Obinna Aniagboso and Dr Chidiebele Egolum, respectively, which was made available to Fides in Awka, called on members to resume work as early as 8am last Wednesday.
Part of the statement read, ‘We take this bold step in good faith with the expectation that the state government and management of COOUTH will not relent in their end until our agreed objectives are fully actualized.’
Resident doctors in the hospital had on 13th May announced their resolve to embark on an indefinite strike, and were also joined by their Medical and Dental Consultants Association of Nigeria (MDCAN), thereby crippling the hospital.
Attempts by the state governor, Chief Willie Obiano, to pacify them with the promise to pay the new minimum wage had been rebuffed by the group, which insisted that their demands were more than just improved salaries.
One of the grievances of the group included; alleged failure of the state government to honor its agreement to implement full CONMESS for doctors and upgrade diagnostic facilities as befitting of a tertiary health centre.
The doctors said their struggle was just and needed to be addressed in order to retain trained, experienced personnel and improve the standard of clinical services in COOUTH.
The group said, ‘We noted the request of His Excellency (Obiano) for ARD to suspend its strike in order to give government a little time to complete the ongoing personnel audit and financial analysis.
‘We also took cognizance of the resolution of the NMA leadership and elders meeting which advised ARD to suspend the strike for one month along with the Medical and Dental Consultants Association of Nigeria (MDCAN).
‘We considered the plight of our teeming patients who have become stranded and deprived of quality care throughout our protracted industrial action.
‘We also accepted the concessions made by Management on internal issues bordering on conditions of service and withheld remuneration, and intend to cooperate to ensure its full implementation.
‘Considering the foregoing, the general congress passed a resolution to suspend its industrial action for one month and to resume work on Wednesday, 17th July, by 8am,’ the statement read.