Fred Ezeh, Abuja; Rose Ejembi, Makurdi
The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) has accused members of the Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU), of frustrating healthcare delivery to Nigerians with their ongoing strike.
The NMA expressed dissatisfaction with the level of intimidation and harassment of its members by JOHESU, who, the union said, now act as thugs in hospitals.
A statement by the NMA President, Dr. Francis Faduyile, indicated that JOHESU members have disregarded earlier directive from the Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, against disrupting peace and quietness in the healthcare facilities.
Faduyile said: “JOHESU members have turned themselves into thugs, disrupting official activities in the hospitals, perhaps, in expression of their anger.
“They now lock up clinical service points and equipment thereby making it difficult for medical doctors to operate smoothly within the hospital environment.”
He challenged Chief/Medical Directors of government-owned health facilities to provide adequate security for doctors and other contract staff offering allied services within the hospitals, in line with the minister’s earlier directive.
Meanwhile, in an effort to ensure strict compliance with the ongoing JOHESU strike in Makurdi, capital of Benue state, officials of the union, yesterday, went round government hospitals in the metropolis to ensure that no member attended to patients.
Daily Sun observed that the union officials caused a stir at the main entrance of the Federal Medical Centre (FMC) located along Atiku Abubakar Road, when they frantically struggled to prevent their members from reporting to work.
Speaking with newsmen at the scene, Chairman, Medical and Health Workers Union of Nigeria, (Benue State chapter), Comrade Dennis Nyam, said the union would not relent in ensuring that its members comply with the strike until their demands were met.
He said JOHESU leadership was on monitoring all the hospitals to enforce compliance and was determined to ensure 100 percent compliance with the strike.
In his comments on the development, Head of Clinical Services, FMC, Dr Paulinus Abu, decried JOHESU’s insistence to continue with the strike, despite all entreaties.
stated that the hospital management was working with the police to ensure maintenance of law and order within the hospital.
He regretted that despite all entreaties, the JOHESU members in the state, still remained adamant and were recalcitrant to their pleas.
Abu maintained that because of the strategic location of the hospital, the strike needed to be handled with utmost maturity to prevent miscreants from taking advantage of it to wreck havoc on the community.
A relation to one of the patients at the hospital who simply gave her name as Madam Alice begged the striking health workers and the federal government to quickly resolve the grey issues between them so that patients don’t die as a result of the strike.