Beginning from Tuesday, patients visiting all federal health institutions may face a hard time accessing healthcare. The expected difficulties could arise from the planned nationwide indefinite strike which health workers commenced in these hospitals on Monday.
While declaring the strike on Monday, National President of the National Union of Allied Health Workers, NUAHP, Obinna Ogbonna, directed all tertiary health institutions, Federal Medical centres, state owned institutions with similar problems to commence the strike immediately.
“We regret any inconveniences or avoidable sufferings and deaths that may arise as a result of this action,” he said, adding, “The Federal Government and the Federal Ministry of Health are to blame.”
NUAHP comprises pharmacists, physiotherapists, medical laboratory scientists, radiographers, dieticians, occupational therapists, clinical psychologists, medical social workers, optometrists, medical physicians as well as orthodontists and prosthetists, among others. Medical and dental practitioners are excluded from the strike.
Consequently, he enjoined all members of NUAHP to be on red alert for further directives.
He similarly urged the press, the traditional rulers and other well-meaning Nigerians to prevail on the “government to meet our demands to avert the untold hardship this strike may bring on Nigerians as it lingers.”
While blaming the Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH), for the negligence, resulting to the avoidable strike, Ogbonna said the “issues under contention had been on since 2009 after the union had reached a collectively bargained agreement with the Government. Among the issues in contention are:
“Lack of basic consumables in our facilities (e.g. reagents, drugs e.t.c) to treat patients in our hospitals, lack of basic working equipment for diagnosis and treatment of patients, structural defect and corruption at FMOH and other health facilities.
“Other factors are flagrant disobedience of court judgements by the FMOH/Chief Medical Directors (CMDs)/Medical directors (MDs) at various tertiary health institutions an shortage of manpower in our various professions.”
Furthermore, he noted that skipping of CONHESS 10 and payment of arrears in compliance with National Industrial Court of Nigeria (NICN) judgement of July 22nd 2013, were among the grouses of the health workers.