Insecurity in Rivers state: Doctors, nurses desert Port Harcourt hospital over abduction, Lassa fever

Doctors in southern Nigerian state of Rivers have completely withdrawn their services since no efforts has been made to bring back their kidnapped colleagues and curb lassa fever in the state.

Dr Mrs I.B. Apriokor, an Ophthalmologist with the Braithwaite Special Memorial Hospital Port Harcourt was the first to be  kidnapped by gunmen. She was ambushed on her way to church on Sunday, along with her children. The abductors abandoned the children in the car.

Then followed  Dr Isaac Opurum, who also was abducted from his home in Port Harcourt. Opurum, is the Director, Community House Services, Rivers State Primary Healthcare Board.

Agitated  by the abductions,  members of Nigerian Medical Association, NMA, have completely withdrawn their services since nothing has been done to free the victims.

The Rivers State Branch of Medical and Dental Consultant Association has also  condemned the abduction of their colleagues.

The Public Relations Officer of the Medical and Dental Consultant Association,Dr. Alali Dan Jumbo, who spoke after Mrs Apriokor was abducted called for  her  immediate and unconditional release.

Dr. Alali Dan Jumbo also regretted the continuous abduction of medical doctors by unknown gunmen in Rivers State is as  worrisome.

Medical Doctors are wondering why they are targets of kidnapers in recent times by unknown gunmen.

“This very sad because we are civil servants even if we answer the name; Doctors. The title gives you a high profile but we are basically Civil servants. And I don’t see any financial gain from kidnapping a Doctor. It is so traumatic on her family, colleagues and Patients. We are feeling very bad right now.”Dr Jumbo said.

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Dr Furo Green, the Chairman of Rivers branch of NMA said  21 of its members were kidnapped  in 2015. He said  doctors were afraid to report to work because they have become targets.

Reacting to the current kidnap and outbreak of lassa fever, a doctor who wants his name undisclosed told that:  “it is so unforturnate that this current administration has put little or no effort in curbing the growing threat of insecurity and disease outbreak in the state, I am no longer safe as a doctor that helps in saving life, I don’t know how they want us to sleep with our two eyes open. Yesterday we lost one of our own to this lassa fever outbreak and they expect us to continue living like this. Please we are calling on the federal government to come to our aid, we are doctors not politicians.”

The NMA also said  families of the victims who paid ransoms before they were released, have not been able to offset the monies borrowed  a year after.

The Rivers State Government which  incidentally has a Medical Doctor as Deputy Governor, Dr Mrs Ipalibo Banigo,  has not reacted to the ultimatum given by the doctors.

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