Health workers at the University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan, on Monday, joined the ongoing strike embarked upon by the Joint Health Staff Union (JOHESU).
According to the Nigerian Tribune, many essential places in the hospital, including pharmacy, outpatient clinics, medical records sections and the two of the main gates into the hospital were locked.
The JOHESU Chairman, UCH branch, Adeolu Alli, said the strike became imperative after a long period of three years of patience with the Federal Government and the government taking their patience for granted.
He said: “We are on strike at the moment and our members have gone home. The level of compliance is almost 98 per cent. The government must meet our demands.
“On September 30, 2017, there was an agreement with the Federal Government on some of these issues most especially the adjustment of our salary structure. Three months later, that was April and May 2018, we had to go on strike again. It was as this April that they took us to court and the court referred us to the ADR of the National Industrial Court. And by December 2019, judgment was made on some of these issues. That is why I’m saying 2017 till date is three years.
“JOHESU is made up of over 94 per cent of workers in the hospitals, except doctors. Obviously there is nothing that can be done without this workforce but unfortunately, the Federal Ministry of Health has been biased all the while. We have tried our best. We have been patient enough but it is unfortunate that they are taking our patience for being a fool.”
Some of the workers who spoke with journalists said it was difficult to trust the government in the country.
UCH’s Public relations officer, Mr Toye Akinrinola, said the hospital’s management had appealed to the striking health workers to leave entrances to its emergency units, including the accident and emergency unit, Otunba Tunwase Children Emergency, the ICU, staff clinic, antenatal emergency and labour ward, opened.
He stated that during the strike, the emergency surgeries would still be attended to at the hospital.
Oyo State Commissioner for Health, Dr Bashir Bello, however often health workers resort to strike action as an avenue to reach a concrete agreement by all concerned. He added: “It is the way of calling the attention of the government to issues that need to be addressed in the sector. So, it is not something negative.”
The spate of the deadly coronavirus pandemic surged from over three million cases in April to over twenty-six million cases in August. But while it is still increasing in some parts of the world, the infection rate, according to the figure released by authorities daily, is reducing in Nigeria