Nigeria: Strike - Hospitals Deserted, Few Patients in Critical Condition in the Wards

Four days into the indefinite nationwide strike embarked upon by the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), hospitals in the FCT have been virtually deserted.

It will be recalled that the NMA President, Dr Kayode Obembe, had on Monday directed its members to embark on a strike starting from July 1, due to government's failure to meet its demands.

A correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), who visited the National Hospital, Abuja on Friday, reports that only few patients were seen on admission in the male surgical ward.

The spokesperson of the hospital, Dr Tayo Haastrup, told NAN that the hospital had discharged many patients since the strike started, except for a few of them who were critically ill and could not be discharged.

It would be unfair for us to discharge them, they are in a bad condition, but the hospital's management is doing all it can to ensure that these patients are taken care of.

We hope that this strike is called off soonest so that patients do not suffer anymore."

Giving an update on the victims of the Wuse 2 bomb blast, Haastrup said that one of the victims was still on admission in the male surgical ward.

He said that three out of the 10 bodies in the mortuary, had been claimed by family members of the deceased, adding that seven bodies were yet to be identified.

We have seven bodies left to be identified by family members and about three bodies are badly burnt beyond recognition.

Since we do not have any means to identify those three through DNA in the country, we will find a way to dispose the bodies."

An outpatient, Miss Faith Nwanfor, who spoke to NAN said, "I had an appointment in the hospital today, but I could only collect my test result, no doctor to see me, now I do not know what to do.

I pray the government and the doctors reach an agreement so that this strike can end, we the patients are really suffering, especially the poor people who cannot afford private hospitals."

NAN checks at the Maitama Hospital in the FCT discovered that the hospital was deserted as only the nurses, lab scientists, pharmacists and security guards were at work.

The NMA demands include a 24-point request for the appointment of four deputy chairmen, Medical Advisory Committee for Teaching Hospitals and establishment of three Federal Medical Centres in the country.

Others are the appointment of only medical doctors as Chief Medical Directors, relativity in the health sector, skipping of Grade Level 12 for medical and dental practitioners and reintegration of its members into the IPPIS platform.

It also demanded for increase in hazard and specialist allowances, budget for residency training, speedy passage of the health bill, appointment of a Surgeon-General of the Federation and universal health coverage, among others.

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