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COVID-19: NCDC Records lowest Infection Figure in More than 1 Year

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The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) said Nigeria recorded only seven additional Coronavirus (COVID-19) infections, the lowest daily figure recorded since April 15, 2020, when the country registered 11 cases.

The NCDC in an update posted on its website Monday morning, said the new infections had raised the country’s total infection tally to 167,066.

While some countries such as the United States, Brazil, and India are witnessing a resurgence of the virus, Nigeria has witnessed a massive reduction in the rate of infection from an average of more than 1,000 daily cases between December 2020 and February 2021, to less than 100 in the past month.

According to it, the seven additional cases were reported from only three states, namely: Lagos 3, Kwara 3, and Rivers 1.

“Today’s report includes 31 community recoveries from Lagos state managed in line with guidelines

“5 states with 0 cases reported, namely: Plateau, Nasarawa, Kano, Imo, and Sokoto,” it said.

The NCDC noted that Sunday became the tenth consecutive day that the country recorded zero fatality from the disease.

According to the agency, at least 3.8 million deaths have been registered globally due to the pandemic with the country taking a share of more than 2,000 deaths so far.

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It added that a multi-sectoral national emergency operations centre (EOC), activated at Level 2, continues to coordinate the national response activities.

Statistics of COVID-19 in Nigeria sourced from the NCDC website indicate that 2,180,444 samples have been tested with 167,066 cases confirmed, 1,506 active cases, 163,463 discharged cases, and 2,117 deaths.

The five states with the highest number of cases are Lagos (59,260), FCT (19,874), Kaduna (9,107), Plateau (9,063), and Rivers (7,285). (NAN)

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Incessant Doctors’ Strikes: Risk Factor for Rise in Brain Drain, says -Neuro-Psychiatrist

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A Neuro-Psychiatrist, Dr Nworie McEdwards, on Tuesday identified  incessant strikes by medical doctors as a risk factor for the  rise in brain drain  in the country.

McEdwards, the General Secretary, Association of Resident Doctors (ARD), Federal Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital, Yaba, said this in an interview with reporters in Lagos.

The National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) started an indefinite nationwide strike  on Monday, Aug. 2, 2021.

The  union scribe said that  the industrial action was to push government to honour its agreement on pay arrears, hazard allowance as well as insurance benefits, to families of doctors who  died of COVID-19.

Other demands include:  life insurance coverage, pay rise, payment of unsettled wages and the need to improve poor working conditions in the hospitals.

The  union had called for work stoppages  by its members on similar issues in the past: it, however, called off a 10-day strike in April 2021, during which health services and activities were paralysed.

McEdwards explained that the consultant doctors, corper doctors and other medical personnel were on ground in the hospital attending to patients.

He said that the resident doctors were, however, on strikes in  compliance with  the ongoing NARD’s directives.

He decried the inability of the government to fulfill its part of the agreement with the doctors, which he said  was causing incessant strikes.

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According to him, “If  the government actually wants to curb  brain drain  in the country, it must do everything necessary to prevent doctors from frequently embarking on strike.

“Government allowing doctors to frequently go on strike due to its inability to meet their demands as agreed, is an indication that the doctors and their services are not recognised, valued or appreciated in the country.

“It is also an indication that the government is indirectly encouraging brain drain because doctors will increase the rate at which they search for job opportunities in other countries where their services will be valued and rewarded accordingly,” he said.

The Neuro-Psychiatrist said that with the numerous demands of the doctors not being met by their employers, is an indication  that the doctors were angry, hungry and financially imbalance.

According to him, the services of an angry doctor can be detrimental not only to the patients, but also to himself, his/her family and the economy at large.

Contributing, Dr Njie Michael, another Resident Doctor in the hospital,  apologised to the patients and the general public for whatever inconveniences/mishaps the industrial action might  have caused them.

Michael said  that the strike was not only for the doctor’s interest, but also for the patients and the general public including the economy.

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“The only solution to the incessant strikes is for government to be sincere and be  responsive to  the doctors’ demands for better conditions of service and workplace infrastructure.

“The doctors have the  interests  of their  patients at heart; we can only discharge our duties more effectively to the patients when our lives and welfare are given desired attention,” he said. (NAN)

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Strike: Doctors Decry Lagos Govt Stance on Removal from Service Scheme

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Association of Resident Doctors (ARD) has appealed to the Lagos State Government to yield to resolving issues necessitating the ongoing doctor’s strike.

Dr Azeez Ojekunle, ARD President, Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) chapter, made the plea in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday in Lagos.

The National Association of Resident Doctors had directed its members across the country to embark on an indefinite strike on Aug. 2.

NARD said that the strike was to protest poor working environment in public hospitals, irregular payment of doctor’s salaries and hazard allowances of N5000 which was reviewed last in 1991.

The strike was also to demand the immediate withdrawal of the circular removing House Officers from the scheme of service and the hasty implementation of the circular by the Lagos State Government.

Ojekunle said that some members of ARD had a meeting with representatives of the Lagos State Government from the office of the Head of Service and its counterpart in Establishment, Training and Pension on Aug. 2.

According to him, the meeting is to dialogue and resolve the imbroglio of the strike.

“We requested the withdrawal of the controversial circular removing House Officers and NYSC doctors from the state’s service scheme.

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“In spite of that, they (government) were still adamant that it would not be done, rather that we should seek clarification on the interpretation of the circular which is clearly stated in the circular,” he said.

Ojekunle decried the government’s stance on the circular, stressing that it was inimical to development in the health sector.

“That means the government is trying to casualise and pay registered doctors stipends as allowance.

“These are doctors that are the frontline health workers that patients see when they visit hospitals. They are licensed and have been inducted into the medical profession.

“They are working for the government and are part of the scheme of service, as enshrined in their appointment letters.

“But now, they are saying they are suddenly being withdrawn from the scheme of service which is inimical to our healthcare system,” he said.

Ojekunle said that the association also demanded an implementation of the Medical Residency Training Act and the release of the Acts fund for sponsorship of specialisation training.

He also called for the immediate recruitment of more doctors to bridge the current shortfall in the system.

“We need more doctors to be employed, many are leaving the country, while some are leaving for tertiary institutions because of the wide disparity in salary.

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“Presently, we have a deficit of over 150 resident doctors and house officers to fill the gaps of doctor-patient ratio and to meet the expectations of service delivery in the state,” he said.

According to him, the delay in the construction of Residents Doctor’s Quarters had been on for over seven years, thus called for immediate commencement of the building.

Ojekunle noted that the impasse was unfortunate, saying patients would bear the brunt of the indefinite strike.

“We are willing to go to the negotiating table again, but the minimum demands of our request must be met in the interest of the health system and the patients,” he said.

He stressed the need for the government to create a conducive working condition and environment that would motivate doctors to shun the lure of migrating overseas to practise.

The activities at LASUTH showed full compliance with the strike directive as resident doctors stayed away from work.

Many new patients and outpatients who came to the hospital were stranded as only senior physicians and nurses attended to some patients.

Some consultants who provided skeletal services at the tertiary hospital and pleaded anonymity complained of being overwhelmed with the workload.

Speaking on the issue, Dr Oluwajimi Sodipo, Chairman, Medical Guild, noted that full medical services could not be rendered due to the impact of the strike, acknowledging that consultants were overwhelmed.

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“The consultants are definitely overwhelmed because the resident doctors play a critical role in rendering health services.

“It is impossible to render full services because the backbone of every hospital, especially the tertiary centres, are the resident doctors and even in the ratio, we have fewer consultants to resident doctors.

“So, we have one consultant to about four senior residents and it’s impossible for consultants to do the work alone,” he said.

Sodipo appealed to the government to dialogue and acquiesce to the demands of the residents’ doctors toward enhancing quality healthcare services delivery in the state. (NAN)

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Strike: ATBU Teaching Hospital Suspends Treatment of Non Emergency Cases – Official

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The management of the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa Teaching Hospital, Bauchi, says it has stopped all non emergency surgeries pending the suspension of the strike embarked by the resident doctors in the country.

Dr Saidu Kadas, Chairman Medical Advisory Committee (CMAC) of the facility, made this known in an interview with reporters on Tuesday in Bauchi.

Kadas said the hospital has devised a means to attend to emergencies in its various units such as the Trauma Centre, Delivery suit, Emergency Maternity, Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and Pediatric emergency.

He said that the units were attending to patients to mitigate the effects of the nationwide strike.

The CMAC said that the authorities were doing their best towards resolving the situation, adding that Federal Government was making efforts towards addressing the problem.

Also commenting, Dr Mohammed Algazali, President, Resident Doctors Association (NARD), said the strike was necessitated by the inability of the government to implement its agreement with the association.

Algarzali said that among other things contained in the agreement were the issue of migration of resident doctors into Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS).

This, he said, resulted to the removal of officer’s salary from the scheme of service and delayed payment.

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“Another reason for the strike was nonpayment of 2014 and 2015 arrears of the National Minimu Wage.

“Other factors are the delay payment of the Medical Residency Training Fund (MRTF), non payment of the Death in Service Benefits (DSB) of the affected doctors to their families.

“Only one of the 19 doctors who deserve to benefit from DSB was paid.

“Other reasons for the action are poor emoluments, infrastructure and insecurity in some of our hospitals and non review of hazard allowance,” he said.

According to him, medical services at the ATBU Hospital are being manned by members of the Medical and Dental Consultants Association of Nigeria (MDCAN), as 150 resident doctors joined the strike.

A correspondent who monitored the strike reports that nurses and Consultant Physicians were providing skeletal services at the hospital.

Hajiya Amina Shehu, a patient relative, said the strike had affected healthcare service delivery and urged the authorities to resolve the industrial crisis to enable them get access to quality medical care. (NAN)

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