Despite Court order, JOHESU yet to suspend strike
NEWS DIGEST – Members of Joint Health Sector Union (JOHESU) are yet to resume duties in Lagos state in spite of an order by the National Industrial Court.
The President of the court had on Thursday directed the union to restore normal healthcare services across the nation within 24 hours, following an expert motion filed instituted by an NGO in Abuja.
Correspondents of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) who visited some government owned hospitals in Lagos metropolis report that doctors were the only ones offering full medical services to patients.
At the General Hospital, Marina, Lagos, only doctors were on call duty there were no health workers on ground to attend to patients.
Mrs Lilian Okere, a patient at the hospital, told NAN that it was family members that were helping to clean patients and the environment.
According to her, she cannot be properly admitted into any ward because there is no health worker to take charge of that, hence her still being at the corridors in the Accident and Emergency Unit.
She appealed to JOHESU and Federal Government to speedily resolve the ongoing standoff, as her life and those of other patients were at stake.
NAN also reports that only personnel of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) were seen at the hospital gates.
At the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), Ikeja, only doctors and senior nurses were seen working.
Mr Bayo Okunade, a patient, told NAN that the consistency of strikes in Nigeria’s health sector had become embarrassing.
“This shows the inefficiency and lack of seriousness in a sector that has to do with human lives. I urge both parties to please resolve the issues,’’ he said.
A check at the Amuwo Odofin Maternal and Child Care Centre also showed that health workers were not on ground.
However, a staff told NAN that skeletal services were being provided for emergency cases.
At the Maternal and Child Care Centre, Gbaja, Surulere, doctors were seen attending to patients; a few health workers were also seen offering skeletal services to emergency situations.
Mrs Funmi Gbadebo , a new mother, told NAN that she had registered at the facility but when she went into labour on Sunday, the institution was not open to take her delivery.
“I went into labour around 12 midnight on Saturday and was rushed to Gbaja, where I had registered for ante-natal.
“But the security did not even allow me to enter the facility.
“We drove to the General Hospital, Surulere, and also got the same treatment; that was how we started driving round Surulere early on Sunday morning.
“The private hospitals were rejecting me because either they did not have midwives on ground or they were not aware of my history; I almost gave birth in the car.
“We finally got a hospital at Aguda that accepted me and within 15 minutes of arriving there, my baby came,’’ she said.
“Everyday, we are told to use government hospitals, yet most times the workers are either on strike or having one face-off or the other, thereby putting us at risk in times of emergencies.
“The federal government should look into the health sector and look for ways to make it more functional, as well as make the staff comfortable and dedicated.
“On their part, doctors and other medical and health workers should be dedicated and reasonable in their demands,’’ she said.
Mr Olatunji Tajudeen, the state JOHESU Chairman, debunked claims that the health workers strike had been called off.
Tajudeen told NAN that the Lagos State Government was currently in an ongoing negotiation with the union, which was yet to be concluded.
“The strike is still on; we are having meeting with the state government and hopefully it may come to a conclusion.
“We will know if the strike will be called off or of it will continue, depending on the outcome of the meeting,’’ he said.
NAN reports that JOHESU commenced strike on April 17, to demand for improved facilities, and adjustment of CONHESS as done for CONMESS since 2014.
Other demands include the abolition of scale to scale promotion, payment of outstanding arrears of promotion, skipping and relativity, as well as employment of additional health professionals.
They are also demanding for the implementation of court judgments and upward review of retirement age from 60 to 65 years. (NAN)
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