The strike action embarked upon by members of the Dental and Medical Practitioners Association of Nigeria, Rivers State Chapter, has paralyzed activities at the State Braithwaite Memorial Specialist Hospital (BMSH).
The Tide’s visit to the Specialist Hospital on wendesday confirmed that medical services have been paralyzed without any medical doctor attending to hundreds of patients waiting for attention at the hospital. Some patients who spoke to The Tide bemoaned the strike action in the hospital especially at the beginning of the year.
According to Madam Lizzy Okwu, she has been in the hospital since Tuesday without single doctor attending to her ailment or coming to check her.
She explained that she has no money to go to private clinic for treatment and urged the Doctors to consider the plight and health conditions of those already on admission in the hospital and call of the strike action.
Also speaking to The Tide, Mr. Amadi Oti, said he came with his wife on referral from a private clinic in Port Harcourt but no medical doctor to attent to his wife, adding that his wife is in a critical condition presently and left with no alterative than going back to the private clinic where they came from.
Amadi called on the members of the Association to dialogue with the state government and call off the industrial action to save lives.
Meanwhile, the Chairman, Medical and Dental Practitioners Association of Nigeria, Dr. Sofiri Peterside, has said that members of the Association embarked on the strike on Tuesday to press home their demands and draw the attention of the state government to the disparity in the salary structure of the Association members.
Sofiri said that members of the Association embarked on the strike for the state government to implement the correct salary structure for the Association’s members.
He said also that there exists gap in medical personnel in the health institutions across the state, explaining that some health centres in the state are not manned and supervised by a professionally qualified medical doctor.
He stressed that a period of 15 days was given to the state government to address all issues raised by the Association but the leadership of the Association is still expecting the state government to dialogue with the Association to amicably resolve the issues as soon as possible.
But in a swift reaction, the Press Secretary, Ministry of Health, Mr. Paul Bazia, who spoke with The Tide on Wednesday, denied the allegations by the Association as reasons for embarking on the strike on Tuesday.
Bazia said that all hospitals or health centres in the state are being manned and supervised by qualified professional medical doctors.