By Tony Nyong
Uyoâ€”Nurses and other health workers in Akwa Ibom State, have embarked on an indefinite strike action to demandÂ the full implementation of the Consolidated Health Salary Structure.
This is coming as doctors in the University Teaching Hospital, Uyo, have also gone on strike to protest the abduction of a colleague and senior consultant in the hospital.
The strike had grounded activities in state ownedÂ hospitals,Â leaving both in-and out-patients hopeless, while most of the patients have had to discharge themselves.
As the strike entered the third day, no fewer than 12 persons,Â who could not be attended to, have allegedly died in some of the hospitals. A circular pasted in government hospitals in the state with indication Bulletin No. 3 read: â€œHealth Workers in Akwa Ibom Arise and Unite, this is another round of battle.
Akwa Ibom State Government has totally bluffed your legitimate demand to adopt and implement the Consolidated Health Salary Structure, CONHESS, despite several appeals by Unions.â€
The circular by the Strike Technical Committee and the Joint Health Sector Union further read, â€œthe strike is total and indefinite. Stay at home from July 19 2010.
Hear from your Union leaders only; ignore government propaganda and deceit on Radio/other media. To achieve the improved health salary structure is a task that must be done.â€
At St. Lukeâ€™s Hospital Annua in Uyo, the out-patient department of the Missionary hospital returned to the mission by the AttahÂ administration was full to the brim and a doctor who pleaded not to be named said â€œtheÂ population has tripled even with the strike at the UUTH, making the work here more tedious for us.
The strike has almost grounded our hospital if not that it is partly run by the mission.â€
A patient in the hospital, retired Inspector Effiong James, who had been in the hospital for more than five hours waiting to be treated, said, â€œNigeria is a rich country. We donâ€™t deserve this type of ordeal.”