Vanguard (Lagos)

23 February 2013

Nigeria: Health Workers Strike Paralyses Services at OAUTH

The strike by federal health workers at the Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospital (OAUTH), Ile-Ife, on Friday paralysed services at the institution.

NAN observed that health care services at the hospital were skeletal and most offices were deserted, with only the doctors attending to the few patients in the wards.

A doctor who spoke with NAN on condition of anonymity, said that the workers started the strike on Thursday with only the doctors attending to the patients.

He added that the hospital was running skeletal services and hoped that the strike would be called off on Monday.

He said that their demand included the implementation of the report on harmonisation in the health sector and promotion of health professionals from CONHESS 14 to 15.

"No less than 90 per cent of the patients were discharged before the commencement of the strike.

"We retained those that their condition required strict medical attention, to save their lives," the doctor said.

According to the doctor, the problem is beyond what the management of the hospital can address at the local level because the strike is national.

A cross section of the patients, who spoke with NAN, appealed to government to address the demands of health workers urgently because of the lives involved.

Mrs Onaola Ogunsanya, a diabetic patient at Cardiac Ward, said that nothing in the hospital was working because there was no water, light, food and even drugs.

Mrs Bunmi Akinwoye, at the ante-natal ward, said she could not cope with the situation and had decided to move to a private hospital.

At neo-natal ward about 16 babies were in the incubators, but the doctors and other members of staff attending to them refused to comment on the situation.

NAN, however, observed that an electricity generator was used to supply power to the ward.

Some other patients called on the Federal Government to urgently intervene, in the interest of those who could not afford private hospitals

Mr Olu Bello, Public Relations Officer of the hospital and the union leaders refused to comment on the matter when contacted by a NAN correspondent. NAN

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