Members of Joint Heath Sector Unions, JOHESU, Federal Medical Centre, FMC, Umuahia chapter and Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital, NAUTH, Nnewi, Anambra State, have complied with the strike action called by their national leaders over outstanding disputes with the Federal Government.
In Umuahia, leaders of the union met earlier at FMC and resolved that no member should be allowed to work and threatened serious sanction against any member who defiled the order. However, skeletal services were held as doctors were on duty and tried to attend to the patients left in the wards.
Earlier, the leadership of the union in the state met with the Chief Medical Director, CMD, of FMC, Umuahia, and explained to him that the action was a national one which the members in the hospital would not disobey.
Speaking with Vanguard, the administrative secretary of JOHESU in the state, Omini Eteng Ojah said the strike action was total and would remain so until the Federal Government responds to their demands. Ojah said: “The leaders of the union will be going round to monitor the situation and ensure that members do not default in carrying out the directive.
“We will chain and padlock offices of our members seen working to drive home the seriousness of the action. The Federal Government has taken the grace given to them by the union for granted. The strike may snowball to the states and local government areas if the Federal Government does not take any positive action.”
1,800 health workers at NAUTH, Nnewi join strike Also yesterday, over 1,800 members of JOHESU and Assembly of Health Care Professionals, working in Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital, NAUTH, Nnewi, Anambra State joined their colleagues across Nigeria in their ongoing nationwide strike, as the Chief Medical Director, CMD, of NAUTH, Prof. Anthony Igwegbe appealed to striking workers to render skeletal services to save lives of patients.
However, the workers led by Comrades Ikenna Anahalu and Charles Nwoye as chairman and Secretary of NAUTH branch of the union respectively, insisted that they would not go against the directives of the national body because it would amount to sabotage. Addressing the workers, Anahalu said: “There must be 100 per cent compliance with the strike as directed by their national president, until the national body instruct us otherwise.
The health workers were strictly warned not to come close to the hospital premises within the striking period or be sanctioned.” However, the visibly worried Prof. Igwegbe told the striking workers that their skeletal services would ameliorate the plight of numerous patients already on admission and those being brought in on daily basis, appealing to them to show human a face to the strike by considering the patients. According to him, “I am pleading with them to maintain emergency services so that we do not lose lives.
Health workers are under an obligation to save lives and that should be done for the sake of humanity.” The strike has started taking its toll as some relatives of admitted patients were said to have been making arrangements to evacuate them to private hospitals as the departments where the striking workers were in charge have already been deserted.
The health workers are asking for upward adjustment of Consolidated Health Salary Structure, CONHESS; arrears of skipping of CONHESS 10; employment of additional health professionals; implementation of court judgements and upward review of retirement age from 60 to 65.
By Anayo Okoli & Chimaobi Nwaiwu UMUAHIA
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