Patients seeking medical attention in public health facilities across the country are groaning since health workers under the auspices of Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU) commenced nationwide industrial action on Monday.
Patients at the National Orthopaedic Hospital, Igbobi, Lagos, who were denied services, called for help from the Federal Government, urging it to respond to the demands of the health workers.
A patient who identified himself as Sunday Adesina lamented that many lives would be lost if the industrial action lingers.
The visibly disappointed patient said that he had a leg fracture following an accident last year and needed surgery, but had been told to go home until the strike is over.
Adesina said: “I had an accident last year and I did not know that I sustained a fracture until last December when I started experiencing serious pains on my hips. I bless God that this was discovered through an x-ray. Now all my hopes have been dashed, as the proposed surgery has to wait until the strike is over.
“What this means is that I will continue to languish in pains till God knows when. That is Nigeria health system for me.”
Two other patients, John and Adelusi, wallow in excruciating pains at the ward 5 section of the hospital.
The situation was the same at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) and Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) where only skeletal services were offered to patients, according to findings.
JOHESU began an indefinite strike on Monday, alleging that government had failed to implement the agreement it reached with them.
The unions involved include the Medical and Health Workers Unions of Nigeria (MHWUN), National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives (NANNM), Senior Staff Association of Universities, Teaching Hospitals, Research Institutes and Associated Institutions (SSAUTHRIAM), Nigeria Union of Allied Health Professionals (NUAHP) and Non Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutes (NASU).
Biobelemoye Josiah, chairman of JOHESU, said the issues in dispute are: upward adjustment of CONHESS salary scale, arrears of skipping CONHESS 10, employment of additional health professionals, implementation of court judgment and upward review of retirement age from 60 to 65 years.
The unions said all the state and local government health institutions had been placed on red alert to intensify the sensitisation and mobilisation of their members towards the successful prosecution of the industrial action.
JOHESU had on September 30, 2017 suspended a nationwide strike after signing a memorandum of terms of settlement, which was to be implemented within five weeks, with Federal Government.