Strike: Patients’ relations beg FG, JOHESU

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Chinyere Bassey

Lagos –   Some relatives of patients in Federal Government hospitals in Lagos State on Thursday appealed to striking health workers to enter into dialogue with the government to resolve contentious issues to avoid deaths.

The relatives spoke to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Idi-Araba, and Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Ebute Meta, Lagos.

NAN reports that health workers in Federal Government hospitals under the aegis of the Joint Health Sector Union (JOHESU) began an indefinite strike on Wednesday to press home their demands.

JOHESU embarked on the strike after a 30-day ultimatum to the Federal Government.

The ultimatum began on March 5.

A NAN correspondent who visited the hospitals observed lacked of the usual heavy vehicular and human traffic.

The hospitals’ record sections were empty and no health worker was in sight.

Mrs Rashidat Oshikoya, a trader, who visited her brother on admission in LUTH, told NAN that prolonged JOHESU strike could lead to death of some patients.

“My brother had an accident two weeks ago; that is why he is here.

“Doctors had to discharge patients whose cases are not critical to allow them to handle others.

“The patients, who are discharged untimely, can develop complications that can lead to death,’’ she said.

She appealed to JOHESU and Federal Government to resolve their conflict fast.

A mother of two, who identified herself simply as Mama Ada, told NAN at LUTH that she could not be attended to because of the strike.

Mama Ada said that she brought her daughter, Ada, who had cerebral palsy, to the hospital but could not receive any attention as a doctor told her that he could only attend to emergency cases.

She said that the strike could spell doom for patients.

She appealed to both parties not to allow the strike to linger.

At the FMC, a woman, who pleaded anonymity, told NAN that her daughter was admitted for internal bleeding on Friday but had been discharged because of the strike.

She said that her daughter had yet to fully recover.

The woman said that she would take her daughter to a private hospital.

Mr Adeyinka Adewale, Branch Chairman, Medical and Health Workers Union of Nigeria (MHWUN), LUTH Chapter, said that the strike recorded 100 per cent compliance in LUTH.

He told NAN that no members of JOHESU reported for work at LUTH.

Adewale said that all members of the union withdrew their services, forcing doctors to discharge patients.

“It is an indefinite strike. We will not call it off until the government meets our demands.

“We pray the government listens to us fast so as not to put Nigerians in more hardship,’’ he said.

According to him, if the government fails to meet the demands in the next two weeks, state-owned hospitals will join in the strike in solidarity.

NAN reports that JOHESU is asking for upward adjustment of CONHESS Salary Scale and payment of some arrears.

The union also wants the government to review retirement age of its members from 60 years to 65 years.

It also demands employment of additional health professionals, among other demands.

According to JOHESU’s President, Mr Josiah Biobelemoye, JOHESU suspended its last nationwide strike on Sept. 30, 2017, after signing a Memorandum of Terms of Settlement (MOTS) with the Federal Government.

According to him, the MOTS was supposed to be implemented within five weeks after the suspension of the strike.

NAN reports that members of JOHESU include MHWUN, National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives (NANNM) and Senior Staff Association of University Teaching Hospitals. (NAN)

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