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Resident Doctors at UNTH Lament Unpaid Salaries, Prolonged Locum Status

Resident doctors serving at the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital (UNTH), Ituku-Ozalla, have voiced their distress over the non-payment of salaries for a period spanning three months. While the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) had scheduled a nationwide protest to address issues afflicting its members, the UNTH doctors, after assembling for a planned protest, focused on their specific predicaments.

Dissatisfied with the present state of affairs, the doctors expressed their disappointment at the situation, deeming it pitiable and unacceptable. Despite the cancellation of the planned protest on a national scale following intervention by Senate President Godswill Akpabio, the UNTH doctors utilized the gathering as an opportunity to highlight their individual challenges.

Notably, the doctors outlined that in addition to the broader issues championed by NARD, they grapple with their own unique struggles. They stressed that appeals to the hospital management for resolution had fallen on deaf ears, exacerbating their already dire circumstances.

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Dr. Nwosu Ivan of the Surgery Department, a locum resident doctor, conveyed the suffering experienced by his colleagues due to the prolonged salary delay. He highlighted the alarming effects on their mental health, explaining that many of them are resorting to loan apps to provide for their families.

Dr. Christian Omeje from the Department of Child Dental Health echoed these sentiments, sharing the disillusionment they felt over their continued status as locum resident doctors, a situation that has persisted for over two years.

Dr. Ogaranya Ifeanyichukwu, another surgical resident doctor, expressed his frustration over being trapped in a locum status, unable to access the Medical Residency Training Fund. He described the toll it has taken on their lives, emphasizing the unbearable pain and agony that define their current situation.

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Dr. Chinazom Ekwueme, President of the Association of Resident Doctors (ARD) at UNTH, emphasized the gravity of the issue, lamenting the prolonged locum tag that has affected over 150 resident doctors. She appealed to the management to swiftly address these challenges, as the continued treatment of medical doctors as casual laborers is both pathetic and embarrassing.

While a senior staff member of the hospital acknowledged the salary arrears spanning three months, attributing the delay to a subvention shortfall, the doctors remain resolute in their plea for a resolution to their grievances. The UNTH resident doctors’ call for improved conditions and the cessation of their locum status echoes their determination to secure a fair and equitable work environment.

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