If the hints given by the Minister of State and supervising Minister of Health, Khaliru Alhassan, is anything to go by, very soon by health workers under the auspices of Joint Health Staff Union (JOHESU), would soon be suspended. This is following hints by the minister that intense negotiation was going on between the government and the leadership of the health workers and that the government was concluding plans to meet all their demands.
Alhassan who disclosed this at the weekend, however, appealed that as the Christmas and New Year celebrations are fast approaching, the striking health workers should suspend the strike in the interest of Nigerians. While responding to questions from journalists at the commissioning of projects and equipment at the National Orthopaedic Hospital Igbobi and Federal Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital, Yaba, he reiterated that failure to call off the strike would portend danger for the health sector during the festive period.
“The festive season is at hand and there will be an inflow of people into the country. The function of all health workers is required to screen people at the border post for Ebola,” he stated. On the other hand, the Federal Government has been charged to intensify Ebola screening in its porous land borders. The National Co-ordinator of White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood in Nigeria, Tonte Ibraye, in an exclusive interview with Daily Independent in Abuja, said the charge was necessary, because, “our land borders are porous and therefore no officials to screen people for Ebola in some of the entry border points.”
He, however, advised Nigerians coming to the country for the festivities to be patriotic enough to report to the health facility whenever they noticed any unusual illness so that it can be promptly checked and treated. Ibraye insisted that Nigeria remain at risk of the possible outbreak of the virus because most the structures earlier put in place by both the Federal and state governments have since been abandoned. “The focus of government is on airports, but what about the land borders? People are coming in without proper documentation. This is quite risky. The common Nigerians that go to Cottonu and other African countries to do business and come back are at risk of contracting the Ebola Virus and bringing it in without proper screening,” he stated.