September 16, 2021

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UCTH Interns Roar Over Salaries

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Chiemeka ADINDU, Calabar

 

Internal crisis affecting non payment of staff and interns’ salaries at the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital, UCTH, has taken another twist as both the interns and the hospital management have resolved to take actions.
The interns are of the opinion that the debt has put them in a condition worse than they had expected in life. And even when the hospital management has confirmed that the c

They are calling on the hospital management to attend to their plight, consider their condition and urgently act as they are no more happy. They also advised that the best thing to do is to positively react to the situation instead of issuing threats on them.

Narrating their ordeal to TNN, one of the interns who pleaded anonymity explained that they started the internship programme around November 2020. She said they got their appointment letters in October and consequently resumed in November.

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According to the source, they were meant to understand that their names have been forwarded to Abuja for confirmation and payment purposes and that they were also made know that they were the luckiest persons as it was the first if its kind such thing was being done.

The source also disclosed that they were meant pay N30,000 for documentation and medical check up, which they paid. However things did not turn out the way they had expected, after the first three months when they expected their salaries, but couldn’t hear anything to that effect from the hospital management. They had also expected the CMD to address them on that but he did not.

“Our annoyance was that the CMD failed to address the issue; he only claimed that he has been addressing it to our HoD and reps but we needed an avenue to talk with him one on one. The day he finally spoke to us, he still repeated the same things that the allocation the hospital received was below their budget; that is why they have been unable to pay interns and corps members.
“The FG pays the money to the hospital based on the budget received which is where the interns are being paid from. At a point it started with UCTH but it is peculiar to UCTH as other hospitals receive a percentage higher than ours. To our dismay, after few months, they dropped salary from N17,000 to N15,750 and that was when everybody got angry and we locked the hospital gate.

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“The next thing we heard was that we have been moved to IPPIS platform for our payment where we got N54,000 as the third payment. The last time we were paid was in May and from May till date people are still coming to work and we are not being paid, whereas our mates in other hospitals even though are not getting their full salaries are getting at least 50 percent.

“The latest memo is now saying that we are threatening to kidnap the CMD, that we are hoodlums. Some people are on loan hoping that this month will come to clear their debts and their interests are being multiplied on daily basis and it is as if they are not bothered”, the source decried.”

In an internal memo released by the Hospital management which was made available to TNN, the hospital was not pleased that the interns are saying that management has been silent about their plight. They even warned that they will no longer take things lightly with the interns if they continued with their blackmail.

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In part, the memo signed by the Director of administration, Ededet Eyoma reads: “In the last seven (7) months, the management of the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital has made concerted efforts to resolve this problem, and ensure interns and other affected staff salaries are paid. Management has interfaced with the Board as well as relevant authorities in the search for a solution.

“We have held several meetings with the interns, in the presence of the leadership of the National Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives (NANNM) and the Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU), as witnesses, to demonstrate empathy, explain our efforts to the interns, urge patience and offered reassurances that every owed salary will be paid once Government releases funds for this purpose.

“Unfortunately, despite every effort and every explanation, the interns, led by a small misguided group, have continued to behave and act in ways that threaten the peace and security of our hospital, patients and law abiding staff. These actions which are unbecoming of any group of professionals has now been expanded to include open threats to the peace and security of our hospital; 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 with a ‘severe hit’.

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“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. Management believes Enough is Enough and a culture of irresponsibility cannot be allowed take hold in our hospital. For the avoidance of doubt, Management has duly informed Security agencies and very firmly advised them to act decisively to maintain peace and the security of lives and property in our Hospital. Criminality under any guise will be strongly resisted. Please be warned.”
Efforts made to reach to the CMD, Prof Ikpeme Ikpeme proved abortive.

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