As strike by doctors in government-owned hospitals enters its third week yesterday, medical and commercial activities are paralysed in hospitals within and around government hospitals in the FCT.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that the NMA embarked on an indefinite strike on July 1, following government’s failure to meet its demands.
A NAN correspondent who visited the National Hospital Abuja, Wuse General Hospital and Federal Staff Hospital, Jabi, observed that the nurses, pharmacists and lab scientists were at their duty posts doing nothing as there were no patients to attend to.
Also commercial activities around the hospitals such as food vendors and recharges cards sellers complained of low patronage.
At the Federal Staff Hospital, Jabi, a lab attendant, who did not want his name mentioned, said: “If you come to the lab on a normal day there is usually a crowd here, but as you can see the place is empty.”
At the National Hospital, Abuja, a Pharmacist, Kilani Jelili, Chairman of the Senior Staff Association, said that number of patients had reduced as a result of the strike.
“Though there are few patients in the wards, we really do not have outpatients as you can see patient traffic is very low.
“Other health workers are all at their duty posts but there is little they can do, the hospital cannot function optimally.’’
Commenting on the strike, Jelili said that doctors had a right to press home their demands but not at the detriment of other health workers and the patients.
“Every association has a right to demand for certain things but doctors should fight for what is theirs only and not concern themselves with what they think other health workers should or should not get, ‘’ Jelili said.
Some food vendors who spoke to NAN said that the strike had affected their businesses as they recorded low patronage.
A corn seller outside the Wuse General Hospital, Ladi Solomon said, “we do not have customers because people are not coming to the hospital as before. Since morning I have sold only N300.’’
Emeka, a recharge card vendor at the National Hospital, said business had been slow for him, adding that the bulk of his customers were people who usually came to the hospital.
An Abuja resident, Ms Foluke Ipaye, also spoke on how the strike had affected her.
“I was hit by malaria fever. I had to go to the neighborhood pharmacy to get drugs because I cannot afford to go to a private hospital.
“ The poor people are really suffering, the government and the doctors should call off this strike, it is not fair at all, people are dying.’’
NAN reports that 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. (NAN)