Hospitals count loses as health workers strike persists
As the Joint Health Sector Union (JOHESU) and federal government failed to reach a consensus, teaching hospitals across the country have lamented on the damage the action posed on the health sector. The health workers who embarked on a nationwide strike on April 17 are protesting for the adjustment of Consolidated Health Salary Structure (CONHESS) scale, specialist allowance, same scale promotion, employment of additional health professionals, implementation of court judgements, enhanced entry point, upward review of retirement age from 60 to 65.
When the Guardian visited one of the federal hospital, it was observed that the activities were at minimal as only doctors were seen attending to patients.
Interacting with a worker at the facility who pleaded anonymity, she said that the hospital have lost a lot due to ongoing strike actions. She explained to the guardian that a lot of lives have been lost, expiration of blood and drugs at its maximum because of lack of the customers.
She also lamented, on loss of training period because teaching hospitals are there to train doctors and carry out research but during this moment of strike training period are lost thereby giving room to the graduation of quacks as medical personnel. “There are areas lecturers will not touch, but you will come to exam and see it. As at time they present it to you, you are a quack so it has a future effect. The government should look into it holistically.” She said.
She added: “Also, revenues to the hospital are lost; patient’s confidence is also lost because some patients do not have confidence in these hospitals where we have experts. After the strike we normally see people calling to ask if the hospital is in strike. These are some of the issues because we have lost their confidence.
“Since the federal government approved the Public Private Partnership (PPP) some of the companies in this partnership with the hospitals are losing revenue and also breach of contract.”
When asked if the number of deaths increased as a result of the strike, she claimed not have the exact figure, though predicting the number of deaths will be enormous.
At Nnamdi Azikiwe Teaching Hospital (NATH) Nnewi, it was observed that activities were ground as a result of the strike; departments were empty and some under lock and key. The Generator was off as such work can be done. Patients are already leaving because nobody is attending to them.
A student Radiographer told the guardian that he was in the ward this morning and a patient died because nurses who would attend to the patient already left because of the strike.
At University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital (UNTH) Ituku/Ozalla Enugu, a student simply identified as Friday blamed the government for its insensitivity toward the plight of the people saying that the doctors cannot do all the works so it’s detrimental to the way things function.
He said that at national orthopaedic, a patient with burns was admitted but could not be treated because the laboratory scientists were not there to carry out the necessary tests and the patient was referred to reroute to a private hospital which lacks the necessary facilities.