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Patients urge FG to proffer solutions to health workers’ strike

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As the Joint Health Workers Union (JOHESU) began a nationwide strike on Monday, some patients in some affected hospitals in Lagos, have called for a lasting solution to the incessant strikes in the nation’s health sector.
Correspondents of the Newsmen who visited the hospitals said that patients were seen in the hospital premises, with the hope of getting treatment that was not forthcoming from the striking workers.
Newsmen reports that JOHESU had asked its members to withdraw their services and embark on a nationwide strike starting from midnight on Sunday, Sept. 13.
This decision was reached after the National Executive Council (NEC) of the union held a meeting on Saturday.
The union had in a statement on Sunday said it gave the Federal Government one week to address all lingering issues.
The health workers were asking the Federal Government to address the failures and decaying infrastructure in the nation’s health sector and pay the shortfall in COVID-19 hazard allowances for their members.
The union is also seeking the adjustment of the Consolidated Health Salary Structure, implementation of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria consent judgment and other court judgments, and pay all outstanding salary arrears.
At the Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Ebute Meta, Lagos, a septuagenarian, Mr. Femi Badmus, expressed his displeasure over the strike.
Badmus said that both the government and union should find a lasting solution to address the issues leading to incessant strikes in the nation’s health sector.
“I come here regularly for a checkup; today, I am yet to be attended to because of the strike.
“This strike is becoming too much in this country, and I hope there will be a lasting solution to it in the interest of patients,” he said.
Also, Mrs. Funmilayo Chuks, another patient said that the frequent strike by the health workers unions had cost many people their lives, urging them to adopt other means to get their demands.
“Though I don’t blame the health workers for going on strike, I believe they should use other means to pass their messages across to the government.
“A relative of mine lost her mother some years ago in a government-owned hospital due to strike; the Federal Government should please do everything urgently to salvage the situation,” Chuks said.
Another patient, a retired teacher, Mrs. Joke Adekoya, who claimed she doesn’t have enough money to get treatment at the private hospital, appealed to the government to meet the demands of the health workers.
“Many of us you are seeing here don’t have the means to seek care in a private hospital.
“The government should please give the health workers whatever they want so that the strike will end,” she said.
Also, at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Idi-Araba, a patient, Mr. Olufemi Adebukola, said he had been in the hospital for two hours but was yet to be attended to.
Adebukola urged the government to consider the plights of the suffering patients and accede to the workers’ demands.
Another patient at LUTH, Sakiru Abubakar, expressed disappointment with the turn of events at the hospitals, lamenting that since morning he had been in the hospital, nobody attended to him.
Commenting, Mr Harrison Etim, the Head of Administration at FMC, confirmed that JOHESU members in the hospital had embarked on strike.
“As you can see, the doctors are on strike, but the management is trying to see if those that need emergency care can get treatment, we are still on it,” he said.
At LUTH, Johnson Shaba, Vice-Chairman, National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives, LUTH chapter, told NAN that nurses in the hospital would not go against the national
directive.
Shaba said that first in the morning, the unit heads held meetings on the update from the national in respect of the strike.
He said that the unit heads would in turn brief the staff members on the next line of action.
When contacted, LUTH Public Relations Officer, Mr Kelechi Otuneme, said that it was too early to comment, saying that the hospital would come up with its position later.
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