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24-month salary arrears: Abia doctors begin indefinite strike

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Doctors have shut down hospitals across Abia State over 24-month salary arrears owed doctors and other staff of the Abia State Teaching Hospital, Aba ABSUTH; and 13 months owed their counterparts at the Health Management Board, HMB.

The shutdown affecting both public and private hospitals, according to the doctors is indefinite.

Doctors had last week, barricaded the entrance gate to the Government House Umuahia, demanding immediate payment of the backlog of salary arrears.

The doctors had the re-emphasised their earlier threat to shut down all hospitals in the state and proceed on indefinite strike should Government remain adamant about their demands.

But the doctors who filed out in their numbers chanting solidarity songs for their affected colleagues were snubbed by Government as no Government official received or attended to them.

Speaking with Vanguard on the development, the State Secretary of the Nigeria Medical Association, Dr Daniel Ekeleme, said that the strike was total and indefinite.

He said it had already received 98% compliance at the Federal Medical Centre Umuahia as doctors stayed away from duty.

The NMA Scribe vowed that doctors in the state would sustain the measure until Government did the needful.

He, however, said the situation could be reviewed as things unfolded.

Meanwhile only skeletal services were going on in some of the private hospitals visited by our Correspondent in Umuahia.
Patients were observed expressing anger over the development.

Mr Emeka Ibe who was attending to a relative hospitalised in one of the hospitals in town urged Government to quickly attend to the needs of the striking doctors to avoid crisis in the health sector.
“It’s a very big disaster.

Government should pay them. Government should not wait until people start dying like fowls”.

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