No respite as doctors’ strike persists
lJOHESU, NAHP threaten to down tools
By Sola Ogundipe, Chioma Obinna & Gabriel Olawale
LAGOS—No end appears to be in sight as doctors under the auspices of National Association of Resident Doctors, NARD, have vowed not to call off their strike which enters the second week today.
This is even as the Federal Government failed to meet its side of the agreement signed between both parties last week.
Patients have continued to bear the brunt of the strike, even as the crisis in the health sector worsened, weekend, with threat by the Joint Health Sector Unions and the National Association of Allied Health Professionals, NAHP, to embark on indefinite nationwide strike and shut down the health sector completely by September 30, 2017.
Speaking to Vanguard on the update of the situation, LUTH-ARD President, Dr. Adebayo Sekumade, confirmed that the strike would continue as the Federal Government failed to effect the second Memorandum of Understanding, MoU, signed with NARD last Wednesday.
“We are yet to receive alert,” Sekumade disclosed, noting that the NARD national body was scheduled to meet again with officials of government tomorrow in Abuja.
He said: “The meeting last week was not conclusive. We are meeting again on Tuesday and hoping that the Tuesday meeting will bring to an end the current crisis.
“We are expecting that for once, the government would do the needful and NARD’s National Executive Committee, NEC, members will take that into cognisance and decide whether we should call off the strike or not. That is our hope.”
Sekumade, who denied knowledge of some hospitals paying salaries, remarked: “We signed the 2nd MoU last Wednesday but the issues stated therein have not been done. Once the content of the MoU is done, we will resume. We are insisting that these things should be sorted out once and for all.”
JOHESU urges Saraki, Dogara to wade into crisis
Meanwhile, the Joint Health Sector Unions, JOHESU, and National Association of Allied Health Professionals, NAHP, have called on the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Yakubu Dogara, to wade into the looming nationwide industrial action.
In a jointly signed letter, National Chairman, JOHESU, Comrade Biobelemoye Joy Josiah and National Secretary, Comrade Ekpebor Florence, urged the Senate President and the Speaker of the House of Reps to help save the situation.
The letter entitled, Looming Nationwide Industrial Action: Request for Audience, and dated September 5, 2017 reads: “We seek for your intervention in the protracted demands and agitations between JOHESU and the Federal Government since 2014 by granting us urgent audience on Thursday, September 14, 2017 at 10.00am or any other date not later than a week before September 30, 2017.
“We are compelled to seek for your intervention so as to avert indefinite industrial action in the health industry. We are aware of the sensitive and important nature of our service to human lives, hence our proactive measures in prevention rather than curative measure.”
Patients bear the brunt
Meanwhile, patients continued to bear the brunt of the strike as most public hospitals were running only skeletal services.
The situation remained unpalatable for patients as the hospitals continued to shut their doors to new patients, while those on admission opted to be discharged to seek care in private hospitals.
Mrs Ibidun Alonge, who spoke to our reporter, weekend, said she had no option but to withdraw her son from one of the affected hospitals in Lagos.
“At the private hospital we relocated to, we were told we had to register and re-run some tests that had already been carried out at the government hospital. All these made us to spend more money than we expected. It is unfortunate we are experiencing this strike,” she lamented.
Also speaking, a man who simply identified himself as Ikenna said he was turned back at the gate of the Psychiatric Hospital, Yaba when he escorted a colleague who was referred there.
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