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COVID-19: Labour-Civil Society decries shortage of health workers at Jericho Hospital

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…urges Oyo govt to pay special allowances of front-line workers

By Adeola Badru

The Oyo State chapter of Labour-Civil Society Situation Room, yesterday, decried shortage of health workers in the state and particularly at the Jericho Chest Hospital, Ibadan.

The Oyo State Chairman, National Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives, Dr. Adeyemi Samuel Oladele, who spoke on behalf of the situation room of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress (TUC) and Civil Society group stated this after a visit to the hospital.

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He said: “We observed that the fence of the isolation centre at Agbami Isolation Centre, Jericho is too close and too narrow for adequate airflow through the direct observation treatment (DOT) clinic of DIAMEN Foundation, Government Chest Hospital, Jericho.”

“Of course, considering the fact that the TB Centre, where TB patients come to take drugs every morning is strategically situated, for such, airflow has been compromised. And as a result, putting the health workers at risk of being infected and considering the fact that the COVID-19, a unique viral infection centre is too proximal to the TB centre where patients with already imunocompressive status are being hospitalized and treated.”

“We, therefore, suggest the followings: One; the DOT of the centre should be relocated, without delay, possibly to a nearby place. Two, as a result of obvious short staffing in the two centres, more staff should be employed. We are not talking about ad hoc staff but permanent staff like doctors, nurses and health attendants that will work assiduously.”

“Also, Agbami Isolation Centre was the first centre where COVID-19 patients were treated in Oyo State and the same set of staff used then are still on board. But unfortunately, they are yet to be paid the special allowances paid to the other health workers (front liners) at Olodo Centre. So, we want to appeal to the governor to magnanimously pay them as this will encourage them to serve humanity better.”

“Furthermore, as observed in the health industry nationwide and in Oyo State, there is an acute shortage there, in that out of the 16 nurses working in the hospital, five of them have been redeployed to the isolation centre. And considering the fact that some of them will be on annual leave; some will be off duty and one on night duty. This is indeed a big inadequacy.”

“Another issue that similarly needs urgent attention is one nurse on night duty. As big as this hospital is, we have two wards, one clinic and OPD (Outpatient Department). Only one nurse will be on duty at night which is not good enough.”

“So, we want to encourage the Oyo State Government especially, the Ministry of Health to please look into all identified lapses so as to allow the health workers in our hospitals serve humanity better,” he added.

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