Jos - The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), Plateau chapter, on Tuesday said that the ongoing strike by local government workers had stalled immunisation against various diseases.
Also affected, according to NMA Chairman, Dr Chris Yilgwan, are ante-natal services usually carried out at the Primary Health Centres run by local health workers.
Yilgwan, who spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), in Jos, explained that immunisations against polio, tuberculosis, hepatitis, measles, pneumonia, tetanus had been suspended as there were no workers to administer them.
"Generally, the strike, which started seven months ago, is responsible for the deterioration of our health indices in Plateau.
"The situation is even worse with the absences of such routine immunisation and antenatal care at the primary health care level," he said.
The medical expert said that the rural dwellers were more affected, and disclosed that many were dying of common diseases because of lack of medical attention.
Yilgwan said that many women had died of haemorrhage after delivery due to lack of medical attention, while children from age zero to five had been denied the routine immunisation to protect them against childhood killer diseases.
He also lamented that children, who were the future of the country, had been out of school in the last seven months due to the labour feud.
He stressed that many had been roaming the streets, which had exposed them to various risks such as trafficking, abuse and many social vices.
The NMA official called on the Plateau government to refrain from using inflammatory statements that could polarise the workforce and escalate the disagreement.
As part of its efforts to end the crisis, he said that the Plateau NMA held a congress on the Dec. 11, where it offered some suggestions on the way out.
"Since labour has compromised on the minimum wage law by accepting 55 per cent instead of 100 per cent as stipulated by the minimum wage law, government should also compromise on its `no work no pay’ policy in order to end the protracted strike," he said.
The chairman said that the NMA was against the "no work, no pay" policy of the Plateau government and called for more concern for the downtrodden by those in government.
He called on labour to maintain an open door policy for negotiation with the government because flexibility was necessary for a progressive society.
NAN reports that state’s secondary hospital, the Plateau Specialist Hospital, had stopped receiving patients following the decision by the health workers, pharmacists and laboratory technicians to join the strike as a mark of solidarity.
Presently, only the doctors attend to the in-patients.