Thousands of patients had a hectic time accessing care yesterday as the warning strike declared by the Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU) and the Assembly of Healthcare Professional Associations (AHPA) in tertiary facilities commenced across the country.
At the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), medical doctors only provided care services, so several patients were turned back unattended to.
What the absence of JOHESU members meant was that there were no record officers to book patients, laboratory staff to conduct lab analysis, and pharmacists to dispense medications. Consequently, there was not much the medical doctors could do without their counterparts that were members of JOHESU.
A mild drama played out yesterday at the LUTH. The JOHESU members joined hands to rain curses on would-be saboteurs who would work in disregard for the directive to go on strike. “Anyone who sabotages our efforts regarding this strike, may God remove them from our midst. Amen,” they chorused.
Those who down tools in LUTH were the nurses, pharmacists, physiotherapists, record officers, laboratory scientists and technicians, dieticians, account officers, administrative staff, store and supply officials, among others.
A few patients were sighted at the Accident and Emergency (A&E), the Guinness Eye Centre, the NSIA-LUTH Cancer Treatment Centre, among others. Reacting to the strike, the Chairman, Medical Advisory Committee (CMAC), Prof. Wasiu Adeyemo, said LUTH was one of the health facilities which could not be shut down in view of the services it provided and “we are not going to do that.”
Adeyemo said the management of LUTH did not have any problem with the strike because the health workers were using it to make some demands from the Federal Government.
He, however, noted that there were some categories of staff, be they doctors or non-doctors, which could not go on strike.