Noah Ebije, Kaduna
As the economy continues to nosedive as a result of lockdown arising from coronavirus crisis, a Catholic mission hospital, Saint Gerard Catholic hospital, Kaduna, has laid off over 100 staff as part of measures to remain in operation.
All the departments, beginning from security post were said to have had their staff strength reduced to a minimal number.
As at Thursday, many of the affected staff got their notice of sack through SMS, asking them to “proceed on compulsory leave without pay”.
One of the affected told our correspondent that, “ There is nothing we can do than to go home and rest, it is nobody’s fault, we have to bear the situation for now. Our hope is in God”.
It was gathered that the hospital has overall staff strength of 250 before the recent staff reduction.
When contacted, the Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the hospital, Mr. Sunday Ali said the staff were not laid off, but were asked to go home pending when the situation will improve. Ali actually admitted that a total of 120 staff were asked to stay off duty.
“In the letter, the hospital gave to the affected staff, the hospital did not state that they were laid off, it stated that they should go home for now until the situation improves. So the hospital did not lay off any staff. The fact remains that there is no need keeping them when our financial base is running down because there are no enough patients.
“How will the hospital pay salaries of these staff if it continues to keep them for the period of coronavirus crisis. So the hospital has no option than to ask them to go home for now pending when the situation improves”, Ali stated further.
The hospital spokesman noted that prices of drugs and other goods needed by the hospital have gone up in the wake of the COVID-19 without corresponding increase in the treatment and bills of few patients that patronise the hospital.
He however, disclosed that individuals, corporate organisations and Kaduna State government are indebted to the hospital, running into millions of naira, just as he appealed to them to offset their respective debts.