LAGOS – Activities across Federal Government hospitals in Lagos on Monday remained stalled as the strike embarked on by the Joint Health Sector Union (JOHESU) entered day five.
The union had on Nov. 13 embarked on an indefinite strike to press home their demands.
Some of their demands include immediate release of circular on adjustment of salary since January 2014 and immediate payment of at least two months arrears.
Others are immediate and full payment of arrears of salaries of CONHESS 10 skipping outstanding since the year 2010 and immediate release of circular on adjustment of salary since January 2014.
A visit by NAN to some of the hospitals showed that health workers were complying with the strike as only very few people were seen within the hospitals.
The hospitals visited are the National Orthopaedic Hospital (NOH), Igbobi, Federal Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital, Yaba, Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Ebute Meta and Lagos University Teaching Hospital, (LUTH) Idi-Araba.
Some patients on appointment were turned back as health personnel were unavailable to attend to them at the different hospitals.
Speaking to NAN, the Chairman, JOHESU, Lagos Chapter, Mr Ibe Nwokenta, said the union had resolved not to suspend the strike until their demands were met.
“We have been going around the hospitals to make sure our members are complying with the directive.
“It is the government that forced us and allowed the situation to get to this point of strike.
“Since we have started we are not going back and there is no way patients will be attended to in this situation,’’ he said.
He urged the government to heed the demands of the union so that activities at the hospitals would be normal once again.
Also speaking, the Chairman, Medical and Health Workers Union, Igbobi branch, Mr Segun Siwoku, said that 99 per cent of patients at the hospital were discharged since Nov. 14.
He said that the hospital was complying with the strike and other departments, including the X-ray centres and the pharmacies.
“You can see when you go round the hospital, it is only a few patients that are still in the ward and will be discharged soon.
“This health issue is a team work and without health workers, the doctors cannot work.
“We appeal to the government to do what is expected of it in order for us to go back to work,” he said.
In his remarks, the Public Relations Officer, Nurses Union, Igbobi branch, Mr Samuel Awodele, said the health workers were part of the health team.
Awodele said that “during the time of the Ebola outbreak, we the health workers were on ground to monitor the disease and make sure it was kicked out of Nigeria.
“And at that time, the doctors were not around for two months, they were on strike but we were on ground to attend to patients.
“Until our demands are met, we are not going to turn down our fight for our rights’’.
Two patients who spoke to NAN said that they were disappointed and appealed to the health workers to resume work in order to save lives.
Mrs Rebecca Atifie, said that she had been on admission since Nov. 12 after undergoing a surgery at Igbobi hospital.
Atifie said she was not happy with the development as she needed to get treatment to get well.
“I am not happy that the strike is on.
“I do not know what to do now as my leg that was cut off during surgery needs to be treated.
“I am appealing to the government to heed the demands of the workers and prevent further delay of medical treatment of patients,’’ she said.
Another, Mr Ejiro Enajite, said he visited the hospital to get a medical report and was surprised that he was not being attended to.
Enajite said: “I need my medical report for another important event, only to come to the hospital and be turned back.
“I wonder when all these strike issue will be resolved once and for all.
“We need stability in our health institutions and the government should ensure that,” he said.
Mrs Ada Felix, a patient awaiting surgery at FMC, Ebutte Meta, said that she wanted to be treated at the hospital because she could not afford to go elsewhere.
She said that she was on ground to speak to her doctor about available options in light of the indefinite strike.
The Public Relations Officer of LUTH, Mrs Hope Nwawolo, called for a quick resolution of the strike because of the effect it was having on patient care.
“In the mean time, our doctors are doing their best and going beyond their specific duties to help the patients as much as they can but this is not a sustainable solution,” she said. (NAN)