The Management of the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital (UCTH) has raised alarm over threats to the peace and security of the hospital as well as the safety of the Chief Medical Director (CMD), Prof. Ikpeme A. Ikpeme.
The interns are owed months of salaries and have gone on protest twice shutting down activities of the hospital demanding for the payment of their salaries and may likely embark on another public protest.
Worried by this, the hospital management in a statement yesterday signed by the Director of Administration, Ededet Eyoma and shared with all Departments and the Coordinator of Schools/Internship Training, revealed that a small misguided group among the Interns in the Hospital have “continued to act in ways that threatens the Peace and Security of the hospital, patients and law abiding staff”.
The statement said that “these actions which are unbecoming of any group of professionals has now been expanded to include open threats and openly canvassing, discussing and planning the kidnap of the Chief Medical Director on the Interns General Social Media Blog. A dateline of month end July 2021 has been set by these Interns to wreak havoc on our hospital”.
The statement warned that “ Enough is Enough’ as no responsible management will watch idly as a group of misguided individuals openly plan criminality for a non-local problem concerning which every effort at resolution is being made. For the avoidance of doubt, management has duly informed the Security agencies to act decisively to maintain peace and security of lives and property in our hospital”.
The statement further explained that in the last seven months, the management of UCTH has made concerted efforts to resolve the problem of the shortfall in Non-regular allowances for tertiary health institutions nationwide in 2021, and has strive to ensure that Interns and other affected staff salaries are paid.
It further disclosed that several meetings have been held with the Interns in the presence of the leadership of the National Association of Nigerian Nurses & Midwives (NANNM) and the Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU) as witnesses to demonstrate empathy, explain management efforts to the Interns, urge patience and offer reassurance that every owed salary will be paid once Government releases funds for this purpose.
The hospital said, “We are also aware by the Interns own admission during the last meeting held with them two weeks ago that they have made independent enquiries in Abuja and were given essentially the same information and reassurances as they received from us.
“In response to our submissions an engagement with the relevant authorizes, a federal government team was in Calabar to verify our submissions concerning the shortfall in non-regular allowances. Similar teams visited other federal tertiary health institutions nationwide. It is therefore not true that management has done nothing in this regard.
“The sum of six million, five hundred thousand naira (N6.5M) released to the hospital every month has been used on a pro-rata basis to pay their allowance. This was directed by the Governing Board, and the latest submission for this purpose was on 9th July, 2021.”
“When sometime in May 2021, the sum of twenty four million became available to the hospital; Management facilitated the use of these funds to pay only the Interns. Management remains in contact with relevant agencies to press home the need to resolve this matter and alleviate suffering by our staff and Interns”.