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COOUTH doctors to join NARD’s planned strike over poor pay

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Anambra govt issues guidelines for COVID-19 tests
Members of the National Association of Resident Doctors at the Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu University Teaching Hospital (COOUTH), Awka, have expressed readiness to join their colleagues on a nationwide strike in the next two weeks.

President of the association, Dr. Obinna Anigbogu, told The Guardian that it was disheartening that COOUTH doctors earn the lowest hazard allowance of N3, 500 in the country, lamenting that amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the state government had rebuffed all entreaties to review the allowance.

“COOUTH doctors remain on 70 per cent salary and that has continued to push many doctors out of the hospital. We are now ready to comply with the NARD directive, as our peaceful gestures have failed to yield any results.

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“It is sad and disappointing that the Federal Government would slash health allocation by 43 per cent at a time when the country is struggling with the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Cutting health budget even in ordinary times is bad enough, how much more during a pandemic that has exposed the perennial neglect of the health sector,” he stated.

He argued that the proposed NARD strike was in order, as the Federal Government had demonstrated insincerity in the implementation of agreements reached before the suspension of the strike.

“We are tired of Federal Government’s tokenism and half truths. As of today, only five states have started paying the new hazard allowance to health workers and so, NARD is left with no other choice than to resume the suspended strike,” he added.
In a similar vein, in efforts to contain the spread of coronavirus, the Anambra State Government has admonished members of the public on how to access test for suspected cases in the state.

Governor Willie Obiano had announced the commencement of testing for suspected persons for COVID-19 at the COOUTH in Awka, charging people to adhere strictly to the directives.

Chief Medical Director (CMD) of COOTH, Dr. Basil Nwankwo, who confirmed the reality of the deadly disease to newsmen in Awka, said the hospital had capacity to handle such cases and urged members of the public to avail themselves of the opportunity.

Giving more guidelines, Nwankwo said any person or persons that manifest symptoms of COVID-19 should visit the state’s Epidemiologist at the ASHIA Office in Awka for collection of their fluid samples for onward transfer to the teaching hospital for testing.

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