UNTH Resident Doctors seek removal of CMD, DDF

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There was a shut down at the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, UNTH, Ituku/Ozalla, Enugu State  on Monday morning when resident doctors at the hospital  protested against the management  over alleged fraud and mismanagement of their salaries and other entitlements.
       The aggrieved  doctors, who carried placards and marched round the hospital premises, chanted songs of  loss of confidence on the management and called for the immediate sack of the Chief Medical Director (CMD),  Christopher Amah and the Deputy Director of Finance (DDF), Chukwudi Onuchukwu, whom they claimed had continuously shortchanged them. 
      The doctors, led by their president, Dr Nwidenyi Isaiah, said: “The  deputy director of finance  must go. We have been shortchanged for a long time. We are no longer treated as resident doctors. What is due to us have been taken away from us. We don’t know how much is our salary; we don’t know how much is our arrears”
      They continued, Today, we demand transparency, we demand honesty, openness, accountability. Let us know how much you have spent from our money, the money belongs to us. It is our efforts, it is our sufferings, it is our sweat, we will not allow you to take it away.”                
Briefing newsmen shortly after the protest, President,  Association of Resident Doctors,  UNTH Chapter , Dr Nwidenyi Isaiah alleged that the management was trying to divert a sum of N100 million released by the Federal Government to settle their arrears.
      He disclosed that, ” The fist N100 million sent was in April, the second one was in October. The first has been disbursed and in doing that, the management said they were to share it with us, 70%-30% and we are saying no to that arrangement. The doctors are saying no to that formula, insisting that whatever money that comes from the federal government on our behalf should be given to us completely. They took part of the N70 million representing 70% and started paying our advancement arrears. They have paid up to 70 people but they have not given us account of how much they have utilized out of the N70 million they claim they want to give us. So we ask them for clarification, accountability, let us know how much of our money have been spent but they said no. The doctors are saying the aren’t accepting that; they should give us a breakdown of how that money have been used we don’t want to be shortchanged”.
           On the second N100 million released in October, Isaiah said:  “They are now saying that it does not belong to us. That the money was removed somewhere from their account and given to them. We smell fraud and we are not accepting that story because the same people that sent the first one sent the second one.
       “We do not accept that story and that’s why we are protesting that they should use the money to pay us what we call skipping arrears. Federal Medical Centre Owerri got the first and shared; now the second one has come they are still sharing it instead of telling stories to their doctors. But it is in the character of UNTH to tell stories”, he said. 
      He added that, “There is also an illegal policy that is being implemented by the hospital management; they call it bond deduction. Any doctor that starts work in the hospital, his first call duty allowance is withheld; they remove it; they call it bond deduction. We don’t understand that argument. What they say is that by the time we will be leaving the system they will refund us the money. It is not true, nobody has ever been refunded and it is illegal. It is ether they send the money to Treasury Single Account or they send the money to the government which they don’t do. They send it to their private accounts and claim that it is bond. How can you remove N98,000 from over 150 new residents and N50,000 from over 130 House Officers, it’s big money.”
         The aggrieved resident doctors said that the management extended the period of stay of  house officers by three weeks.” We do not accept it because we don’t understand the reason for that. They said it was because other hospital workers were on strike . Yes, other hospital workers wee on strike but the house officers were working. They were coming to work. So for you to extend their stay as a result of strike that was not embarked upon by doctors is wrong. it was by other hospital workers JOHETSU, it’s none of our business and we cannot accept it. The only condition for such an extension is when we embark on strike but we did not go on strike. So the three weeks extension to house officers is illegal and we don’t accept it.
      Other  agitations were poor state of their call rooms. “We have told the management to refurbish our call rooms. When resident doctors are on call in UNTH some of them go to House Officers’ house to sleep, some take their call at midnight they look for where to sleep. Some of them go to Four Corners to stay in hotels. Our call rooms are in shambles. They are in terrible condition. We have asked the management to refurbish our call rooms, make it look like a place doctors can work. We have been begging them. Some of the beds are broken, there are no foams, how do you expect a doctor to sleep on the floor?” they asked.

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