Paul Osuyi, Asaba
Members of the Joint Health Sector Union (JOHESU), Federal Medical Centre (FMC) Asaba, on Thursday raised concerns that hospital management has resorted to using inexperienced laboratory and pharmacy trainees, interns and NYSC members to provide medical services to patients.
Health workers under the aegis of JOHESU have been on strike for over two weeks, leading to the withdrawal of services by medical professionals.
Raising the alarm in Asaba, JOHESU members warned of the potential for deaths in the hospital if management continues to engage the services of interns and corps members in place of exprienced health workers.
The Union warned that anyone going to the hospital for treatment was taking a risk as Heads of Department (HODs) and management are administrative staff, and do not have the time to supervise interns.
Contacted, FMC Asaba Medical Director Dr Victor Osiatuma said doctors, management, members of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) and interns were not on strike, adding that the interns were being supervised by Heads of Departments.
Union members had lamented that it was “unsafe to visit the hospital now that we are on strike because patients might receive half or low quality treatment which is inimical to their health. We have told management that using inexperienced persons is wrong.”
Explaining further, they said that drugs given to patients cannot be guaranteed, as the usual practice of pharmaco-vigilance, whereby a pharmacist on duty, working in synergy with the doctor on duty can detect a wrong prescription, is absent; adding that the implication is exposure to wrong dosages and possible death.
They also revealed that interns in the laboratory cannot effectively carry out tests and examinations and come up with right results without good supervision, stressing that Asaba FMC is a “tertiary health facility where you cannot use trainees to conduct test(s), dispense doctor’s prescription and administer injection.”
While condemning the development in the hospital and the risk of death, JOHESU advised management to stop the practice for the sake of the lives of patients and members of the public.