Thursday, July 29, 2021

JOHESU strike: How two-day-old baby with spinal cord problem denied medication

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Jaafar Jaafar
Jaafar Jaafar is a graduate of Mass Communication from Bayero University, Kano. He was a reporter at Daily Trust, an assistant editor at Premium Times and now the editor-in-chief of Daily Nigerian.
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A two-day-old baby with spinal cord problem was on Wednesday denied treatment following an indefinite strike embarked by the Health workers under the aegis of Joint Health Sector Union, JOHESU, to force the Federal Government meet their 24-point demands.

Hundreds of other patients were also stranded while the entrance of the hospital was blocked by the striking health workers who had locked two of the hospital’s gates to prevent people coming into the hospital as well as the different service points.

Alfa Abideena Akilapa, the baby’s father, told Nigerian Tribune that the baby was born on Tuesday and with a spinal cord problem was referred to the hospital from Oluyoro Catholic Hospital, Ibadan but was asked to come back the next day (Wednesday).

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Tirimisiyu Kolapo, another patient, who had travelled from Kano to Ibadan on Tuesday, expressed displeasure at the strike that prevented him from receiving treatment even though he got to the hospital’s surgical outpatient clinic before 7:00 a.m.

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The striking workers had placed a big pipe to prevent motorist driven in through the hospital’s main gate, leaving many people, including patients, packing their cars along the road and walking into the hospital.

The chaotic situation in the hospital also affected some medical doctors coming in from all over West Africa for the West African College of Surgery examination ongoing at the hospital.

Chairman, JOHESU, UCH, branch, Olusegun Sotiloye, the unions had embarked on the indefinite strike to ensure the Federal government meets all the agreements it had with the unions.

Mr Sotiloye, decrying the government’s attitude to the health of Nigerians, said “unfortunate we sympathise with the innocent Nigerian populace because of the strike, but this is the only language Nigerian government understands.”

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Mr Sotiloye listed their demands to include upward adjustment of CONHESS Salary Scale, arrears of skipping of CONHESS 10 and employment of additional health professionals. Other demands are the implementation of court judgments and upward review of retirement age from 60 to 65 years.

Meanwhile, UCH’s Chief Medical Director, Professor Temitope Alonge, said the hospital has made provisions to ensure it continues to provide emergency cases, saying the strike was a national problem.

According to him, “we will not be able to embark on routine nonemergency cases, but for emergency cases, provisions have been made to manage Nigerians who require medical attention.

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“Patients that are fit enough to be discharged to other health facilities will be asked to do so, but those pretty ill will continue to receive medical attention from the staff that is within the hospital premises.

“People are not going to be allowed to die because we do not want to provide them with medical care. The doctors, both resident doctors, and consultants have been well briefed on what to do.

“It is worrisome because when lives are lost, we cannot bring them back. We will continue to put in our quota while the government is making effort to resolve the problem, to ensure that people do not suffer because of the strike action.”

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