From: Uche Nnorom, Makurdi
Members of the Joint Health Workers Union of Nigeria, Federal Medical Center, Makurdi chapter yesterday, joined their colleagues across the country to embark on strike.
Our correspondent who visited the hospital, observed that normal health care services was paralysed at the hospital as early as 8am, with most of the departments including the medical ward, General Out Patient Department GOPD, the Gynaecology section and children’s ward were deserted by supporting staff as only a few doctors were spotted offering skeletal services to patients.
It was also, observed that sick people who were troop in into the health facility in their large number for treatment had no option that to either return home or move to private hospitals to be treated.
Speaking to newsmen, the Head of Clinical Service in the hospital, Dr. Enye Agada, described the strike as unfortunate, stating that it has rendered most activities epileptic.
“It is unfortunate the JOHESU strike has commenced. Only the doctors are not on strike but the supporting staff are on on duty and in health, we work as a team. When a part of that team is not there, things may not work optimally and that’s the situation we are facing now.
“Doctors at the FMC Apir section right from Consultants to Resident Doctors and then to the House Officers are directed to be at work but things like the emergency surgeries may not be obtainable now because they need the support of nurses to handle the theatre”,she said
Dr. Agada said because of the strike, only one supportive staff at the directorate cadre was at the GOPD department, adding that with limited doctors, attention will only be paid to the most sick patients and not everybody stressing that a similar situation applies to emergency situations at paediatric and gynaecology units.
“The GOPD is running skeletal services, the Accident and Emergency, A&E section is running only emergency situations and emergency surgeries will be difficult to manage now”, Dr. Agada noted.
She said management of the hospital was also, sourcing for support staff now that normal shifts has been stalled to be consulting patients under the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) from 8am to 2 pm everyday as long as the strike lasts.
The Head of Clinical Service said the hospital was grappling with the challenge of not discharging patients at the medical ward being managed by doctor, saying the situation has made it difficult for new patients to be admitted.
Dr. Agada hoped that the strike would not last long as dialogue between the federal goverment and striking health workers would be fruitful.