Home News Strike: Health workers render skeletal services to patients

Strike: Health workers render skeletal services to patients

by Haruna Gimba
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By Muhammad Amaan with agency report

As the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) embarked on an indefinite nationwide strike due to the Federal Government’s refusal to increase its new minimum wage offer above N60,000, healthcare workers under the aegis of the National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives (NANNM) and the Joint Health Sector Union (JOHESU) on Monday rendered skeletal services in Abuja hospitals.

Recall that the Organised Labour declared an indefinite nationwide strike insisting to that the FG should increase its new minimum wage offer above N60,000.

The President of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Comrade Joe Ajaero, announced that the strike followed failed negotiations between the government and organised labour, and its refusal to reverse the withdrawal of the power sector subsidy and increase in electricity tariff.

The unions had earlier given the May 31, 2024 deadline for the conclusion of new minimum wage negotiations.

Our correspondent, who visited the National Hospital, Abuja, and the Federal Medical Centre, Abuja, observed that skeletal services were rendered to some patients while some patients were not attended to.

At the NHA, our correspondent observed that some healthcare workers were leaving the hospital premises in compliance with the directive strike while some healthcare workers were rendering skeletal healthcare services to outpatients and inpatients.

A healthcare worker at the Radiology department who spoke on condition of anonymity said, “The strike is total and indefinite but we have to save lives. Definitely, I can’t do everything but we have to empathise with patients, especially those with critical conditions.

“Our union leaders are monitoring the strike, and if they come, we have to leave our duty posts.”

A patient at the surgical outpatient department of the hospital, Olayinka Adebayo told our correspondent that he could not be scheduled for his next medical appointment because of the ongoing strike.

“They said they can’t book now because of the strike. I begged them but they said there is nothing they could do. I think they are only attending to people that have appointments today. It’s painful that this is happening, maybe I will try a private health facility,” he lamented.

Also, at the Federal Medicine Centre, Abuja, some nurses, laboratory scientists, pharmacy, other healthcare workers on internship and members of the National Youth Service Corps were seen rendering services to patients.

The immediate past chairman of the Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists of Nigeria, and the current President of the Cooperative Society at FMC Abuja, Paul Orieji said the strike is total and indefinite, but some members are rendering skeletal services.

Orieje noted, “In a health facility, we always try to ensure we provide skeletal services. There are people who will be in the Intensive Care Unit, there are people who will be in the emergency unit, and we will have children with bad health challenges, we don’t deny them health care, irrespective of the strike; we ensure that we provide those skeletal services.

“If you go around, you will definitely see that some of the people rendering the services are corps members and interns.

“But, I can tell you that we are on strike, but we do everything to ensure that people do not lose their lives.”

The Chairman of the Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists of Nigeria, FMC Abuja, Ani Benedict also said they can only render emergency services to patients.

On his part, the NANNM Chairman at the hospital, Victor Asu said, “The strike is total and it is in compliance with the NLC and Trade Union Congress’ instructions.”

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