By Therese Nanlong
Nurses and midwives under the aegis of National Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives, NANNM, in the Jos University Teaching Hospital, JUTH who are working in the institution’s isolation centre has ordered a sit at home for its members saying the order was necessary due to negligence of their welfare by relevant stakeholders.
The Chairman of the JUTH chapter of the Association, Mrs. Mercy Lenka at a peaceful protest on Monday at JUTH in Jos, said the order was necessary, as their members were risking their lives working under stringent conditions in the center, stressing that there was no special room created for suspected cases at the hospital but only a screen demarcation with a clothing material for suspected cases at the casualty unit, hence their members and other patients were at risk of getting infected with the disease at the unit.
Her words, “Particularly why we are taking this action is because, a patient was managed in the ward and it turned out that he became a suspected patient and the result turned out to be positive, all the people who nursed this patient were tested because of the exposure and then a nurse working at the centre have tested positive. We raised an eyebrow when we saw the temporary arrangement made by the hospital for suspected cases of just a cloth demarcation at the casualty unit.
“We also called attention of the infectious unit of the hospital, but they said the patients would not be kept for up to two hours there for their samples to be taken. it would interest you to know that a patient has been there since Friday, while a patient was brought last night presenting classical symptoms of COVID-19 of which his sample is yet to be taken, this is a risk to other patients at that unit and the nurses there who do not have Personal Protective Equipment, PPEs.”
She added that nurses at the centre would only return to duty if they were provided with accommodation, incentives and hazard allowances, while threatening that failure to provide a special room for suspected cases awaiting results may warrant a total strike of nurses in the hospital.
“Nurses at the centre must be tested before they resume as some may be positive and still going back to risk their families which is in irony of our advocacy against community transmission. Even if the federal government has not implemented the hazard provisions, the state task force should handle this matter,” she noted.
However, the State Commissioner for Health, Dr Nimkong Lar, said he was unaware of the development, but would get details from the Chief Medical Officer of JUTH.
The Public Relations Officer of JUTH, Mrs. Bridget Omini faulted the action of the nurses stressing that coming on a public holiday, it shows the nurses were up to what the hospital has no idea about.
According to her, “The nurses took a wrong step; to do a thing like that, you inform the Management. There was no notification to Management to relay their concerns that this is what we see, can you give us an explanation? There was nothing like that. Besides, that Monday was a public holiday, can anything be done on a public holiday? They went ahead and pull the nurses out of the isolation center which is wrong. These on essential services were supposed to be on duty.
“Glass cubicles are used as demarcation, it is been a while I entered the isolation ward, to get more details, the CMD will be in the better position to speak.”
At the time of this report, the CMD, Dr. Edmund Banwat did not pick his call nor reply to a text message sent to his confirmed phone number.