Members of the Joint Health Sector Unions, on Monday, commenced a nationwide strike called by their national executive and paralysed activities in federal public hospitals across the country.
The strike is over the non-payment of COVID-19 hazard allowance, among other welfare benefits allegedly promised by the Federal Government.
South-West states join
In Ogun State at the Federal Medical Centre, Idi-Aba, Abeokuta, the JOHESU members grounded medical activities.
The union had earlier held a congress on the premises of the FMC, where members decried the infrastructural decay in various government hospitals across the country.
The Chairman of the Senior Staff Association at the FMC, Bashir Ayobamiji-Obabiyi, said, “We went on strike two years ago on this same issue. To our dismay, the Federal Government withheld two months’ salary, April and May, because we went on strike.
“But about two or three times, medical doctors have proceeded on strike and their salaries were paid, which is a high level of injustice in the system.”
At the Olabisi Onabanjo Teaching Hospital, Sagamu, the branch Chairman of JOHESU, Mrs Jayeola Thomas, said members of the union were on duty because the industrial action only affected their counterparts at federal health institutions.
In Lagos, activities were paralysed at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Idi-Araba; Federal Medical Centre, Ebute Meta; and the National Orthopaedic Hospital, Igbobi.
Although doctors were seen attending to patients on emergency at the hospitals, JOHESU members shunned work.
At LUTH, the striking workers were holding a meeting when our correspondent visited the hospital and ensured that none of the union members resumed at their duty posts.
At the NOHIL, an official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the impact of strike was being felt.
“Although, doctors are not on strike, who will check the files of those who have been given an appointment? The engineering department can decide not to switch on the generators if there is no power supply. We really hope that the strike will be called off soon,” the source said.
At the FMC, only emergency situations were being attended to by the hospital.
A source said a lot of patients were sent back home as there were no workers to check for their files.
Also at the Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospital, Ile-Ife, Osun State, some members of JOHESU resumed at their duty posts early on Monday.
But the OAUTHC JOHESU Chairman, Lateef Adeyeni, said the compliance was around 85 per cent as of 2.30pm.
“The strike is effective now. Presently, we are having about 85 per cent compliance. By tomorrow, the tally will increase,” he said
Health workers at the Federal Teaching Hospital, Ido Ekiti, Ekiti State, joined the JOHESU strike.
JOHESU members at the Ekiti State Government-owned health care facilities were, however, at their desks on Monday.
The state JOHESU Chairman, Oluwafemi Ajoloko, said all health workers in the state were on the same page with the national leadership.
Health facilities paralysed in the East
In Anambra State, activities at the Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital, Nnewi, were paralysed on Monday.
The Chairman of the NAUTH chapter of JOHESU, Mr Ikenna Anahalu, said, “The Federal Government must release funds to pay the arrears of differentials for 2015, 2016 and 2017 promotion allowances.
“Personal Protective Equipment is not adequately provided in NAUTH as well as other COVID-19 palliatives.”
Similarly, health workers in the Federal health institutions in Enugu State joined the nationwide JOHESU strike.
The state chapter Chairman of JOHESU, Benneth Asogwa, said the leadership of the union moved round the federal health facilities in the state to ensure total compliance.