Doctors’ strike: Patients, relations lament situation, call for action by Nigeria government to avert deaths

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By Akanji Alowolodu, Bauchi

As members of the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) embarked on another round of strike to press home demands for better condition of service, innocent Nigerians who are mostly patients and their relations have been left stranded to bear the pains and agony of the industrial action which many of the people affected in Bauchi described as uncalled for. 
At the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University Teaching Hospital, (ATBUTH) Bauchi as well as the Federal Medical Center (FMC), Azare, our Correspondent observed that medical activities and other services involving Resident Doctors have been grounded leaving the patients to keep waiting.
At the various departments of the hospital such as the maternity, male and surgery wards, gynecology, male medical ward popularly known as”Sani Sami”, paediatric ward, among others patients were seen stranded as they waited for the next step.

ATBUTH Branch President of the National Association of Resident Doctors, Dr. Nur Algazali, said that although the strike was regrettable but necessary saying that over 150 Resident Doctors at the ATBU Teaching Hospital have joined the indefinite strike.
Nur Algazali further said that the strike was to press home their demands stressing that, “All we are saying is that, the federal government should take care of those who take care and offer medical services to the people” .
The NARD branch President added that, “We have bills to pay, like school fees of our children, we have to feed our families, and a whole lot of issues, we need better welfare and working environment. How can you work when your salary hasn’t been paid for some months and you have worked? 
“We appeal to the people to understand that we are not doing this to cause pain to them or their loved ones but we want a better working condition so that we can care for them effectively and adequately,” he said.
While reacting to the development, Management of ATBUTH assured that it has already put measures in place to be able to ameliorate the suffering of the patients so that the negative effects will not be too much. 
Speaking through the ATBUTH Chairman, Medical Advisory Committee (CMAC), Dr. Saidu Abubakar Kadas, the Management said that all the Consultants and others who are not members of NARD have been adequately mobilized to fill in the vacuum created by the strike action. 
Saidu Abubakar Kadas assured further that all emergency cases will be attended at the Trauma center of the hospital 24 hours non stop stressing that, “what we have put in place are life saving measures to be handled by our Consultants and other Senior professionals around”. 
He however said that apart from the Trauma Center, places such as gynecological ward, paediatric ward and other sensitive areas will be attended to while not too serious cases will only be managed but not admitted at the facility. 
Saidu Abubakar Kadas then called for truce on the lingering issue saying that, “the two sides should sit at a table and engage each other in order to fashion out the solution to the problem for the sake of the innocent people who may lose their lives in the process of the strike”. 
Meanwhile, some of patients and some relatives whose people are still on admission at the facility, lamented that the strike has negatively affected them as they do not know their fate considering that as of the time they spoke, no Doctors had to attended to them leaving some Nurses on duty to attend to their medical needs.
Some of the patients were officially discharged as a result of the development to either go home or go to other hospitals where they will get medical attention while others discharged themselves to get the required treatment elsewhere.

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