The striking members of the Association of Resident Doctors in Ondo State have appealed to the Rotimi Akeredolu-led government to consent to their demands, which would enable them to return to their duty posts for the sake of the patients in state hospitals.
This was disclosed in a statement issued on Monday by ARD General Secretary, Dr John Mathew, two months after they embarked on strike on June 5, 2021.
The PUNCH reports that the Ondo doctors, under the auspices of the Association of Resident Doctors, University of Medical Sciences Teaching Hospital chapter, are aggrieved over unpaid five months salaries, irregularities in salary payment, adoption of the Medical Residency Training Act of 2017, improved working condition among others.
This is just as the National Association of Resident Doctors embarked on nationwide strike action last Monday, to press home their demands which includes unpaid salaries and benefits.
Addressing Akeredolu, the Ondo doctors said, "The Ondo State hospitals have been operating at less than 10 per cent capacity for the most part of this year. This is occasioned by the non-payment of salaries, salary arrears, and irregularity of payments. It will surprise you to know that Ondo State doctors have only earned two months' salaries so far, thereby leaving us impoverished with five months' unpaid salaries.
"Our salaries are so irregular that the February salary which was paid in April came over 70 days after January salary. This situation has made it difficult for the Doctors, some of whom are in residency training program that involves expensive Update courses and Exams. This is aside from the cost of research work he or she has to fund from the irregular and, now, unavailable meagre salary.
"This has not only brought untold hardship and worsened the welfare of the health workers who continued to combat the scourge of the covid 19 pandemic, to which some members have paid the ultimate price, with dampened morale but has also made life difficult for the people of the state who receive care in our public facilities as most of these people cannot afford the cost of private health care and have to travel to other states to access affordable healthcare that should be made available at home.
"There is no denying the fact that precious human lives continue to be needlessly lost on daily basis as a result of the ongoing strike by doctors who were frustrated out of work or how else would you describe a situation where you work but do not get paid your dues as and when due with no serious attention paid to our calls for regular and complete remunerations.
"We appeal to the state government to accede to these basic demands so that we can return to work to stop further needless loss of precious human lives from preventable, curable and manageable disease conditions. This would ensure doctors are on ground also stem the tide of the new and more virulent variant of the Covid 19 virus in our dear state."