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Indefinite strike paralyses healthcare services in LUTH

10 January 2014, 15:59

Lagos - Healthcare services at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) on Thursday remained paralysed, as the strike by the Joint House Unions and Associations (JHUA) of the hospital entered its 11th day.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that JHUA comprises the Medical and Health Workers Union (MWHUN) and the Senior Staff Association of Universities Teaching Hospitals, Research and Allied Institutes (SSAUTHRAI).

Other associations involved in the strike are the Non-Academic Staff Union (NASU) and National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives (NANNM).

The health workers have come together under the aegis of JHUA, to enable them to address common problems and demand for better welfare.

Kehinde Adegoke, the Chairman, SSAUTHRAI, LUTH chapter, told NAN that the hospital management had failed to meet many of the demands of the group.

"We have given various notices, and we have had meetings with promise upon promise being made but they have all remained in the realm of promises.

"One of our problems is the issue of overtime; the chief executive had said that he was not approving any more overtime.

“Meanwhile, workers had already done three months without being paid.

"Some people got one month, some got two, some got three, because the director of staff administration stopped collecting overtime schedules,” he said.

Adegoke said that other grievances include nonpayment of salary increment, refusal to promote officers, and lack of promotion for certain members of staff who met the requirements.

He said that among the nurses, 89 people went for the last promotion and only 10 were actually promoted.

"The nurses are overworked because of the inadequate manpower; in the wards, we have a ratio of 1:16 attending to patients, which ideally ought to be 1:4.

"It is regrettable but we have come to a point where strike seems to be the only language they understand.

"If they had met 50 to 60 per cent of our requests, things would not have reached this stage.

"These issues are not new, JHUA has been pursuing some of them for about three to four years,” he said.

Meanwhile some patients seen in the hospital expressed displeasure over the incessant strikes in the hospital, over the past year.

A NAN check revealed that some nurses and other health workers were, however, seen rendering skeletal services to people in intensive care units, and also to those who were in need of blood transfusion.

However, the out-patients department, which is usually besieged by a lot people, was rather deserted.

The Chief Medical Director of the hospital, Prof. Akin Oshibogun, in an interview with NAN, appealed to the striking health workers to re-open negotiations with the management and consider the health of the patients.

"We have met most of their demands; the only one left is the promotion issue.

"However, promotion is reserved for only those eligible and subject to vacancies, so there is not much we can do about it,” he said.


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