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Nigerian Doctors

Patients lament strike at Federal Medical Centre

Patients, who access medical services at the Federal Medical Centre, Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, on Wednesday lamented the impact of the strike by health workers at the centre.

The National Union of Allied Health Professionals, Yenagoa Chapter, had on May 11, 2016, commenced an indefinite strike over the shortfall in payment of staff salaries at the hospital since January this year.

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 the industrial action was taking a negative toll on public health as patients were bearing the brunt of the strike.

“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.

Another patient, Mr. Julius Michael, said he came to find out if health workers would resume in line with the directive of the Ayuba Wabba-led faction of the Nigeria Labour Congress.

Michael stated, “I had thought that they would resume work here, but I was told that the strike that was called off concerned the hike in the price of petrol, and did not pertain to 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 here.”

Yet, another patient, who identified herself simply as Elizabeth, 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 lives are involved and resolve their differences quickly.

“The only option is to see the possibility of going to a private clinic. Even at that, where is the money? Only God will save us. It is unfortunate all these are happening. We are begging the workers and the authorities to resolve whatever differences they have for the sake of the people.”

Reacting to the concerns of the patients, Chairman, NUAHP, FMC Yenagoa, Mr. Oginike Lante, said they were compelled to commence the indefinite strike after giving 28 days notice to the FMC management without any positive outcome.

 

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