Leadership (Abuja)

2 July 2014

Nigeria: Doctors' Strike Paralyses Hospital Activities Nationwide

Photo: Premium Times
Hospitals are short-staffed and as doctors strike.

The directive by the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) to embark on an indefinite nationwide strike has elicited total compliance by doctors across the country.

As a result, healthcare delivery service was yesterday paralysed at various government hospitals and healthcare centres nationwide.

However, nurses and matrons, according to checks carried out by our correspondents, have taken over care in the hospitals especially those ones in critical condition.

At the National Hospital Abuja, the doctors too abdicated their duty posts, even though some of them were seen loitering in empty hospital corridors, under "essential duty" designation.

A pregnant woman, Priscillia Edoh, who went there for ante natal care, was not attended to despite her four-hour wait.

"We were told to wait. Up until now, they have not come," the pregnant woman said, as she stayed alone in a waiting room that had emptied since morning.

At Maitama General Hospital, Abuja, the management of the hospital said it was in a meeting with the doctors even as it rebuffed attempts to interview its officials.

Also, most of the patients at the University College Hospital, Ibadan, were not attended to by the striking doctors as they were denied medical attention except those on emergencies.

Speaking on the strike, the chairman, NMA, Oyo State, Prof Adefolarin Malomo, said the association had been pressed most painfully to resume her suspended strike.

At the Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital, (NAUTH), Nnewi , all the patients in the teaching hospital were discharged yesterday at about 12 noon by the hospital management because of the doctors' strike.

But the situation was different at the Anambra State University Teaching Hospital, ANSUTH, where the medical doctors were seen attending to patients.

At the University of Ilorin Teaching along Oke-Oyi, medical activities were totally grounded as doctors failed to turn up for duty except for some consultants who were seen attending to patients in critical conditions.

Relatives of some patients were also seen searching for taxi cabs, apparently in a bid to relocate their sick ones to other medical facilities.

An official of the hospital who pleaded for anonymity said medical workers would maintain their stance until government was ready for negotiation.

It was the same scenario at University of Ilorin permanent site clinic as doctors, acting on the directive by the national headquarters of NMA, joined the strike.

Also, at various hospitals in Delta State, especially at the Federal Medical Centre, Asaba, only the consultants and some senior medical officers were on hand to attend to patients that had been on admission before the strike started, but fresh admissions were not allowed.

At the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), Ikeja, a young man who identified himself as Dayo Adeyeni brought his uncle to the accident and emergency unit for urgent medical attention, but they were, however, turned back as the security guards told them the doctors were on strike and no one would attend to them.

At the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Idi-Araba, the hospital was scanty as it had been during the recent strike embarked upon by the resident doctors.

According to the Vice President of the Association of Resident Doctors, LUTH chapter, Dr, Akinkunmi Afolabi, doctors at LUTH were not on duty.

"We are observing total compliance with the strike. If you see any doctors walking around, they are only doing referrals for their patients to go to other hospitals where they can get medical care. Although the strike is painful, however, the government needs to correct some segments of the health sector," he said.

The Federal Medical Centre, Makurdi, and other public hospitals in Benue State yesterday shut down as a result of the strike.

LEADERSHIP's visit to some of the public hospitals in Makurdi, Gboko, Otukpo and other local government areas revealed that medical doctors were not in the places to offer medical services to patients, but nurses and administrative staff were seen performing their duties.

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InFocus

Nigerian Doctors' Strike Paralyses Hospitals

Hospitals are short-staffed and as doctors strike.

Medical services at state-owned hospitals across the country have been paralysed as the Nigeria Medical Association embark on an indefinite nationwide strike. Read more »