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Published On: Thu, Jan 8th, 2015

Doctors, patients bemoan protracted health workers’ strike

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Doctors and patients in public hospitals in Abuja have bemoaned the continued disruption of medical services as a result of ongoing strike embarked upon by health workers in the country.

Some of the stakeholders told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Wednesday that the development was impacting negatively on health services as health condition of patients had worsened.

At the National Hospital, Abuja, a medical doctor who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said some sections of the hospital were seriously affected by the strike.

He said medical records unit was the worst hit units in the hospital, adding that it had adversely affected the speed with which patients were attended to at the hospital.

“It is obvious that the strike has affected most parts of our operations especially the records unit.

“The doctors are doing their best in ensuring that at least record of patients at the hospital are kept but it is not easy.

“The medical record personnel keep records of every patient and where to locate them, but it is difficult for doctors to trace them thereby making our job difficult,’’ the source said.

The doctor said other areas they had challenges include the laboratory and radiology units of the hospital.

The source, however, noted that the General Outpatient Department (GOPD) and other clinics at the hospital were still providing full services at the hospital.

The doctor said that in spite of the challenges, they were doing their best to ensure that patients got the required medical care.

Another doctor, who is a paediatrician, also told NAN on condition of anonymity, that the paediatric unit of the hospital was fully functional despite the strike by other workers at the hospital.

The paediatrician also complained that vital laboratory test for patients could not be conducted as a result of the strike.

A patient at the GOPD, Mrs Amina Gambo, told NAN that she spent more than an hour to secure an appointment with a doctor at the hospital, attributing the development to the ongoing strike.

Gambo said she had to go to a private facility to get other services such as x-ray and other laboratory tests.

At the Wuse General Hospital, a civil servant, who preferred anonymity, also told NAN that the strike was gradually grounding medical services in all sections of the hospital.

The worker said that patients with complicated health issues had to patronise private health facilities to access full medical care.

He said most patients had to cope with the high cost of accessing medical care in private hospitals in order to get care for life-threatening issues.

Meanwhile, the Joint Health Sector Union (JOHWESU) has maintained that the strike would continue until government met their demands.

The media consultant to JOHWESU, Mr Jack Lampang, told NAN in a telephone interview that there was no going back on the strike.

According to Lampang, the ball is in the Federal Government’s court, if they address the issues the strike will be called off.

He said the union had demonstrated sufficient commitment to the plight of patients in the hospitals but maintained that the union was helpless.

“The truth of the matter is that if you want good health system, anywhere in the world, then you must invest in the sector and this is part of our demand,’’ he said.

NAN reports that workers in the health sector under the auspices of JOHWESU declared an indefinite strike on Nov.

…As Ministry directs health workers to suspend strike in Kano

Kano State Ministry of Health on Wednesday directed health workers at the Murtala Mohammed Specialist Hospital, Kano, to resume at their duty posts with immediate effect.

This is contained in a statement issued by Malam Isma’il Gwammaja, the ministry’s Public Relations Officer.

It said that the directive followed a solidarity strike embarked upon by junior health workers in the hospital.

The statement said that such category of workers was not allowed to take part in any form of strike.

It said that security personnel, plant operators and ambulance drivers should return to their duty posts without further delay.

According to it, the management noted with dismay that despite the current health situation in the hospital, the union resolved to embark on the solidarity strike.

It appealed to patients and their relations to bear with the situation, advising those exempted from the strike to comply with the directive in the interest of industrial peace and harmony.

NAN reports that the health workers had embarked on solidarity strike to support their senior counterparts who had been on strike for the past two months. (NAN)


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