The indefinite strike embarked upon by health workers under the auspices of Joint Health Sector Union, JOHESU,took its toll on Federal Government-owned health institutions in many states of the Federation, yesterday, as patients lamented the development, with several opting for voluntary discharge, following the withdrawal of medical and clinical services. Scores of patients receiving treatment at the Federal Medical Centre, FMC, Idi-Aba, Abeokuta, burst in to tears when they got wind of the information that the workers had embarked on strike. The medical workers, whose withdrawal of services grounded services at the facility, also embarked on protest which lasted for hours to drive home their demands. JOHESU Chairman at FMC Idi-Aba, Comrade Samuel Idowu, told newsmen that the industrial action became inevitable having served the Federal Government with “20 different ultimatums totalling192 days” without positive responses.
Patients opt for voluntary discharge in Lagos
In Lagos, the compliance level was total as skeletal services were observed at the Federal Medical Centre, Ebute Metta; Federal Neuro Psychiatric Hospital, Yaba; National Orthopaedic Hospital, Igbobi and Lagos University Teaching Hospital, LUTH. At the various hospitals visited, the Accident and Emergency departments were either devoid of activity or under lock. According to Mrs Oluyemisi Adelaja, Chairperson LUTH branch of the National Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives, NANNM, “we have declared the strike, we called a congress and given our members the directive of JOHESU. We are compliant.” A relative to one of the patients, who identified herself as Mrs. Adeola Ikeoluwa, expressed concern over her three-year-old child. “My daughter used to cry all night before she was admitted and since admission, she has been feeling better, but I don’t know our fate now health workers are on strike.” The situation at the National Orthopaedic Hospital, Igbobi, was similar as the emergency department was completely devoid of activities. At the emergency reception, there was nobody to listen to enquiries. At the Male Ward G, only eight of the 28 beds in the ward were occupied. It was gathered that other patients had opted to be discharged.

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