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'Health workers' strike is a wake up call to government'

24 January 2014, 19:02

Lagos - A Union leader in the Health Sector, Ibe Stephens, on Thursday said that the ongoing three-day nationwide warning strike was to draw the Federal Government’s attention to the rot in the sector.

Stephens, the Lagos State Chairman, Medical and Health Workers Union of Nigeria (MHWUN), said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos.

He spoke while monitoring the level of compliance by the health workers in some public hospitals in Lagos.

NAN reports that the health workers, under the aegis of the Joint Health Sector Union (JOHESU), had on Wednesday commenced a three-day warning strike.

They are protesting against the non-implementation of the agreement the union reached with the Federal Government on January 7.

The Minister of Health, Professor Onyebuchi Chukwu, had on Tuesday appealed to the JOHESU to shelve its planned warning strike.

Stevens said that for three years, the health workers union had been writing and meeting with the Federal Government, to channel their demands, without any fruitful results.

He, however, urged the Federal Government to urgently address and resolve health workers' problems, in the interest of patients and the development of the sector.

The hospitals monitored were the Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Ebute Meta, the Federal Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital, Yaba, the National Orthopaedic Hospital, Igbobi, the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) and the Medical Laboratory Science Council, Yaba.

NAN reports that there was total compliance by workers in the hospitals, as all activities were grounded.

All the laboratories, X-ray units, Pharmacy department, reception and nurses offices were under lock and key.

Doctors were seen chatting away, without attending to the patients that were at the hospitals, in spite of the strike.

Patients were seen moving from one end of the hospitals to another, without any of the records officers to retrieve their case files and cards.

The situation was different at the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) and the Federal Medical Stores, as the health workers were seen at their duty posts.

Stevens said that members of the union at NAFDAC and the medical stores would be sanctioned for not joining the strike.

JOHESU comprises the Medical and Health Workers’ Union of Nigeria, the National Association of Nurses and Midwives, and the Senior Staff Association of Universities and Teaching Hospitals.

The workers are demanding improved working conditions and facilities at the various health facilities across the country.

They are also calling for non-skipping of salary grade level CONHESS 10; passage of the National Health Bill; payment of Consultancy and Specialist allowances, as well as the call/shift duty allowance.

-  NAN


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