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Published On: Thu, Aug 14th, 2014

Ebola: Residents want doctors to resume work at public hospitals

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Doctors-on-strikeStories by Stanley Onyekwere

As the panic over the outbreak of the Ebola virus disease spreads across the country, some residents of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) have stressed the need for the striking medical doctors to immediately call off their nationwide strike action and return to work, in the interest of the suffering people.

This is coming as the the nationwide doctors’ strike continues to take its toll on healthcare services in public hospitals in the FCT and the country as a whole.

They were of the view that in the wake of the raging crisis due to the outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus disease in the country, the doctors ought not to be persuaded to suspend their industrial action, to help tackle the scourge.

Also, residents called on the government to expedite action on containing the scourge before the epidemic spread like wild fire in the country especially rural areas.

It would be recalled that despite growing public outcry, the doctors have vowed that the strike will still continue because they have not gotten anything tangible from the government. According to them, there have been several meetings to reconcile and come to a midway but till date, government has not done anything concerning our requests.

As a result, only nurses and other auxiliary workers are now attending to patients at the various general hospitals and other public clinics.

A resident, in Utako District, Abba Umaru, urged the striking doctors should resume work, so as to prove those who are accusing them of sabotage and insensitivity to the real issues affecting the poor masses.

He therefore, said it is a work up call for both the doctors and the government to work together, in order to explore ways of developing vaccines against deadly diseases causing panic among the people.

Another resident, Akudo Ibeh, in Wuse, who decried that the plight of the people has been compounded, since the doctors withdrew their services from the public hospitals, said they many are now Describing the situation as unfortunate, she said the aggrieved doctors can’t claim ignorance of the fact that on a daily basis many people are dying because of their absence in public hospitals across the Territory and the country at large.

“They (doctors) know that many of our people cannot meet the expense of the outrageous charges by private hospitals, no thanks to the harsh economic realities they are faced with in the society’’, Ibrahim said.

Similarly, one Amina Musa, who condemned the lingering strike, expressed concern over the quality and capacity of the few private medical facilities, where most of the striking doctors have taken their services to.

She said that stakeholders should concern when people are left with no other option than to rely on private clinics, most of which operated under poor conditions, with patients only patronising them for consultation services..

She said despite their substandard services, they charged exorbitant fees for their services, some of which are free at the public hospitals.

On his part, a discharged patient, Mallam Ali Abu, who was accosted coming out of a private hospital in Gwarinpa Estate, however said he was shocked and sadden to discover that despite the influx of patients into the clinic their charges remained the same.

“I had expected the fees for medical services at the private clinics to be a bit lower than what it was prior to the doctors strike, but to my surprise, they have remained the same,” he said.

Peoples Daily reports that Ebola, one of the deadliest viruses on Earth claimed its first Nigerian victim, a nurse, who among those that treated Patrick Sawyer, a Liberian, who died of the disease in Lagos, recently.

According to experts, the dreaded disease with 90% of fatality is highly contagious, as it spreads through contact with bodily fluids like blood, sweat and vomit.

Some concerned observers have also opined that with heightened threat of Ebola virus, and the doctors bent on trading blames with the government over the protracted strike is more than ever truncating healthcare services in many in Abuja and the nation at large.

 

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