Patients at the University College Hospital, Ibadan, have begged members of the Nigerian Union of Allied Health Professionals not to embark on any strike because of its possible consequence on the lives of the ordinary people. But members of the NUAHP on Monday began a nationwide strike to press home their demand for the provision of basic facilities and working equipment for diagnoses and treatment of patients at government hospitals.
The body is made up of physiotherapists, dietitians, medical laboratory scientists, radiographers, optometrists, pharmacists, dental therapists, medical physicists, health information officers and other health professionals, excluding doctors and nurses.
In some teaching hospitals, they constitute between 65 and 70 per cent of the health workers’ population. In the past, strike action by the joint health professionals’ body had crippled medical and academic activities in some teaching hospitals.
Speaking with our correspondent at the UCH on Tuesday, one of the patients, Josephine Ogbu, has said that she was referred to the hospital from Ijebu Ode, Ogun State, where her husband worked as a teacher, saying that she had been coming from Ijebu-Ode two times in a week since her referral two weeks before and that when she heard of the strike and the rally staged by the health workers, her hope of quick recovery faded.“I fell down three months ago and suffered a pelvic problem. After a few weeks of treatment at a private hospital in Ijebu-Ode, I had no relief. So the doctor referred me to the UCH.
On Monday, I heard of the strike. But I decided to visit the hospital to keep my appointment today (Tuesday). I am at a loss because I am in pain. I rely on the facilities here, but if there is nobody to operate them, my hope of recovery will dwindle. I appeal to the workers to shelve the strike.”
Other patients who spoke to our correspondent have called on the government to listen to the health workers and reach an understanding with them.
“I am not sure that the doctors and nurses are all that the hospital needs to provide service to the people. These health workers are many and they perform functions on which the doctors rely before making a decision. I have been coming here for dental treatment in the past one week and I have not seen a doctor. I have only been seeing dental therapists. Now that they have gone on strike, what is our hope,” asked one of the patients, Mrs. Taiwo Ogunleye.
On Monday, the National chairman of NUAHP, Dr. Ogbonna Chimela, in a meeting with journalists at the UCH, has said that the action was taken after government failed to act on their demands within the 30–day ultimatum issued by the union on January 20, 2017.
He has said that it is on record that our union is not known for frivolous strikes. In fact, the last time we embarked on a similar strike was in August 2013. The Memorandum of Understanding reached with the government on August 20, 2013 has not been implemented till date.”

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