By Emmanuel Addeh in Yenagoa
Doctors in Bayelsa State on Tuesday vowed to embark on a ‘total and indefinite’ strike from the 27th of June to protest the government’s inability to pay their salaries for about five months.
The doctors under their union, Nigerian Medical Association, Bayelsa State branch, also apologised to the patients in various hospitals in the state for the hardship the industrial action would cause them, noting that they could no longer work without remuneration.
Chairman of the NMA in the state, Dr Israel Jeremiah, who spoke at the association’s secretariat in Yenagoa, particularly expressed sadness that House Officers, whom he described as the youngest and most vulnerable members of the medical profession, were undergoing untold pains.
The body noted that the ongoing non-payment of salaries, even to civil servants in the state, had resulted in reduced hospital attendance and inability of patients to buy drugs, and that residents have resorted to patronising quacks.
‘’Despite the untold hardship occasioned by this development, our members have kept faith with our Hippocratic Oath, continued to render services and ensured that Bayelsa people get the needed healthcare.
‘’The continued non-payment of salaries has adversely affected healthcare delivery in the state. Hospital attendance has markedly reduced; patients can no longer procure drugs, pay for tests or pay their bills on discharge from the hospital.
‘’The consequences are that Bayelsa people will resort to self-treatment, patronise quacks and in the worst case scenario opt to die at home’’, Dr Jeremiah said.
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