Health

Ekiti Health Crisis: Doctors, Healthcare Workers Strike

OKEKUNLE SUNDAY, IBADAN

It would be recalled that the medical doctors under the aegis of the National Association of Government General Medical and Dental Practitioners (NAGGMDP) covering more than 100 primary healthcare centres, 19 general hospitals and three specialist hospitals, have since Wednesday commenced indefinite strike in the state.

The doctors accused the government of subjecting them to what they described as unnecessary hardships through shortage of manpower, poor pay and arrears of unpaid allowances.

Five days after doctors in the service of the Ekiti State Government embarked on an indefinite strike action, other healthcare workers in the state under the Joint Associations and Unions of Ekiti State Healthcare Workers are set to commence a three-day warning strike beginning from today.

The union comprises the state chapters of the National Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives (NANNM), Medical and Health Workers Union of Nigeria (MHWUN) and the Nigerian Union of Allied Health Professionals which comprises pharmacists, among others.

The state government has said it would soon respond formally to the development.

The commissioner for health, Mojisola Yaya-Kolade, said she would soon issue an official statement.

Mrs Yaya-Kolade’s tarse response simply reads; “A statement will be issued.”

This is the same response the commissioner gave when a similar inquiry was made on the ongoing doctors’ strike in the state. But the statement is yet to be issued more than 72 hours after.

In a telephone interview with PREMIUM TIMES that confirmed to CMM, the chairman of the union, Femi Ajoloko, accused the government of subjecting the healthcare workers to untold hardship, saying their sacrifices for the state have been taken for granted.

According to Mr Ajoloko, for the past 10 years, healthcare workers in the state have not been receiving statutory hazard allowance and other allowances including those for uniforms, skipping, among others.
We had been managing and enduring these challenges but even at this critical time, the state has refused to consider us by paying the covid-19 special hazard allowance.

After a series of letters, when we met with government representatives on Monday, we were told the state does not have money.”

The letter reads in part; “The leadership of the Joint Associations and Unions of Ekiti State Healthcare Workers frowned at the lukewarm attitude of the state government towards our request which has not been acceded to by the state government.

“Having exhausted all the necessary means and procedures to avert this impending strike to no avail, the leadership of above named associations and unions, therefore, painstakingly resolved and declared a three-day warning strike with effect from 12midnight on Monday, July 6, 2020, to press home our demands.”

Meanwhile a nurse with one of the general hospitals in the state, who asked not to be named for fear of victimisation, has lamented what she described as an unfriendly working atmosphere in the state.

The union’s chairman said his members were distraught by the development and felt they were being taken for granted.

He said the Monday meeting was attended by the head of service, senior special assistant on labour matters, commissioner for finance, and permanent secretary, ministry of health, among others.

“But the same government that is claiming that there is no money has been busy announcing political appointments as if the appointees will work for free.

They now seem to have shifted focus on the isolation centres forgetting the fact that those of us at the primary healthcare facilities and general hospitals are more exposed to hazards.”

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