As the strike embarked upon by resident doctors across the country enters its fifth day on Friday, the Chief Medical Director (CMD), Bauchi State Specialist’s Hospital, Bauchi, has lamented that the hospital is being overstretched by the number of patients pouring in on a daily basis.
Resident doctors, under the aegis of National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD), on Monday, August 2, 2021, resumed an indefinite strike they had suspended last April over their welfare and other sundry issues. Speaking with DAILY POST in an exclusive interview on Friday, the CMD, Dr Ya’u Hameed Suleiman, lamented that the Bauchi State government-owned specialist’s hospital is being overstretched due to the low number of doctors working there.
Suleiman, a consultant general surgeon, said though the doctors in the specialists’ hospital did not join the nationwide strike, they were being overworked since their counterparts at the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University Teaching Hospital (ATBUTH) in the Bauchi State capital had joined the ongoing NARD strike.
According to the CMD, “Thank God that the doctors in the hospital have graciously not joined the ongoing strike by residents doctors.
“Our main problem is that we are overstressed by the system already. The specialist hospital is deficient in the number of doctors; as big as the hospital is, the number of doctors is very low.
“Already we are very stressed with work due to the strike at the teaching hospital (ATBUTH). It is almost making it impossible, but we have to do what we can.”
Dr Suleiman informed that the state government had given the hospital management the greenlight to recruit more doctors to bridge the gap, saying that, “as a result of that the Bauchi State government has given the go ahead since Monday to recruit medical doctors to come in.”
While calling on patients to accept what he termed “the little services” being rendered to them by doctors in the hospital, the CMD emphasised that the few doctors are being overworked.
Suleiman, however, called on the Federal Government to as quickly as possible sit down with striking doctors and come to an agreement so that they would return to work.
Meanwhile, NEWSMEN observed during our Correspondent’s visit to the hospital that there has been an increase in the number of patients, both outpatients and those on admission, in the specialist’s hospital.
It was gathered that some patients on admission at the ATBUTH before the resumption of resident doctors’ strike were moved to the specialist’s hospital by their relatives, while the number of outpatients has since increased tremendously.
Some patients who spoke with NEWSMEN, however, expressed satisfaction with being attended to by doctors in the hospital, adding that the fact that they (doctors) did not join their colleagues nationwide on strike was a big relief for them.
Alhaji Muhideen Sani, a 70-year-old Baba Musa from Dass Local Government Area of the state, whose one of his legs was amputated, informed that his father was brought to the specialist’s hospital from ATBUTH to continue with his treatment following the ongoing strike.
“We are satisfied with the treatment my father is being given here. Doctors and nurses here are attending to him and equally treating him well,” Sani told NEWSMEN.
At the Paediatric Surgery Ward, a mother, Zainab Ya’u, whose son, Aliyu Shira, is on admission informed they were at the teaching hospital before coming to the specialist hospital when resident doctors went on strike.
According to Ya’u, “The strike by the resident doctors really affected us. We were on admission at the teaching hospital (ATBUTH) as of the time the strike began. We had to leave for the specialist hospital for treatment.”
Some patients, however, appealed to the government to urgently accede to the demands of NARD members with a view to enabling the striking doctors to call off the ongoing strike in the best interest of the people.
“Government should please quickly attend to the demands of doctors so that they will return to work. They should do that in the interest of the people of this country,” a patient at the outpatient unit, Salisu Abubakar, told DAILY POST.