Health officials in some parts of Nigeria have started complying with the directive by the Joint Health Workers Association to embark on strike till the Federal Government implements agreements reached with the union two months ago.
In Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, the action has paralysed activities at the Federal Medical Centre in Idi Aba area of the city.
Patients who thronged the institution for medical attention were turned back as a result of the action over, among other things, the non promotion of their members from salary 14-15 CONHSS, immediate release of circular on adjustment of salary since January 2014 and the release of circular on extension of retirement age to be backdated to February 2014.
However, an attempt to get the reaction of the hospitals management on this development proved abortive
While in the north western city of Kaduna, workers at the National Eye Centre, Kaduna, also joined in the nationwide strike.
Though, workers at the centre had been on strike since last week, they resolved to join in the nationwide strike which commenced on Thursday.
Briefing reporters in Kaduna on Thursday, Secretary of the Union, Musa Lawal, said they would not call-off the strike until all their local and national demands were met by both the hospital management and Federal Government.
He directed members to stay back at home and disregard any call from the management.
He called on patients to look for alternative medical services, as the workers would not be available to attend to their needs. He said the union had served the hospital management a notice of the strike.
Apart from the National Eye Centre, which commenced full strike on Thursday, government hospitals in Kaduna such as the Barau Dikko Memorial Hospital, Yusuf Dantosho Hospital, Tudun Wada and National Ear Care Centre offered skeletal medical services to patients.
In the same vein, the Cross River State chapter of the Joint Health Sector Union’s Assembly of healthcare professionals have joined their counterparts nationwide to embark on the strike.
Speaking at the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital, State Chairman of the Union said the strike became necessary following Federal Government’s negligence to keeping to the request of the union as agreed between the two parties.
He added that all members would remain at home until they received directives from above to act otherwise.
FG Says Health Workers’ Strike ‘Unnecessary’
The Federal Government of Nigeria has described the industrial action by the Joint Health Sector Union as unjustifiable, unnecessary and unfortunate.
The supervising Minister of Health, Dr. Khaliru Alhassan, on Thursday stated the government’s position on the matter at a news conference held in Abuja.
Dr. Alhassan said the decision of Health Workers’ executive to embark on strike was unnecessary because there were ongoing negotiations between the union and the government.
The Minister also said the call for strike suggested that there could be more to the incessant strikes by the union than what it was clamouring for.