Posted by News Express | 26 May 2016 | 3,240 times
Patients who access health services at the Federal Medical Centre (FMC) in Yenagoa, Bayelsa, on Wednesday bemoaned the impact of the strike by health workers in the institution.
The National Union of Allied Health Professionals (NUAHP) FMC Yenagoa Chapter, had, on May 11, commenced an indefinite strike over the shortfall in payment of staff salaries at the hospital since January.
The strike has paralysed out-patients services and laboratory services, with physiotherapy, radiotherapy and records departments of the hospital shut down. Skeletal services are, however, available at the emergency section.
A patient, Mr Ebitimi Daniels, said at the hospital that the strike was taking a negative toll on public health as patients were bearing the brunt of the industrial action.
“It is unfortunate that we are the ones suffering from this strike; some of us cannot afford the exorbitant bills at the private hospitals. The management and staff do not feel our pains,” he said.
Mr Julius Michael, another patient, said that he decided to look in to see if the health workers would resume in line with the directive of the Ayuba Wabba-led faction of the Nigeria Labour Congress.
His words: “I had thought that they would resume work here, but I was told that the strike that was called off concerns the hike in the price of petrol, and not the health workers. They should resolve this and let us have access to affordable health services. I cannot afford the exorbitant charges in a private hospital; it is only emergency cases that they are attending to.”
Elizabeth Sunday, another patient, said she was contemplating taking her eight-month-old baby to a private clinic.
“My baby is having fever and I cannot wait till they call off the strike; they should remember that life is involved and resolve their differences quickly. The only option is to see the possibility of going to a private clinic,” she said.
Mr Oginike Lante, Chairman, NUAHP, FMC Yenagoa, had said they were compelled to commence the indefinite strike after giving 28 days notice to the FMC management.
The labour leader said: “We have given the statutory 21 days notice and gave an additional seven days making a total of 28 days. So, this strike is in compliance with the provisions of the labour laws.
“We are concerned about the effect on our patients, but we have exhausted all other options open to us. o far, the management has been unresponsive and not met our demands; so, we are still waiting for them.”
Mr Bernard Akpedi, Public Relations Officer, FMC Yenagoa, said that the management had appealed to the workers to return to work.
He said: “We had appealed to them to be patient as the management was working to resolve the short payments, caused by budgetary shortfall.
“We got assurances that as from June, we shall be getting our full salaries and arrears. And if they have waited from January till date, it is only reasonable that they wait a little more.”
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