- Due to the ongoing health workers’ strike, activities across many secondary and tertiary health institutions have been crippled
- A patient narrating his ordeal said when he got to the hospital as early as 5.30am, he was yet to be attended to by a doctor at 9am
- The Joint Health Sector Union include all health professionals at the hospitals excluding the medical doctors
Following the debilitating strike by JOHESU, patients at Asokoro District Hospital, Abuja, have lamented the unavailability of doctors at the hospital to attend to patients especially in emergency cases.
The ongoing health workers’ strike has crippled health activities across many secondary and tertiary health institutions.
The health workers, under the Joint Health Sector Union include all health professionals at the hospitals excluding the medical doctors.
Hassan Abubakar, one of the patients,who narrated his ordeal to Premium Times on Thursday, May 24, said he got to the hospital as early as 5.30am and as at 9am, he was yet to be attended to by a doctor. He said there was no doctor at the accident and emergency section as at the time he got to the hospital.
“I met an emergency case here when I came, but there was no doctor around to attend to him. The person at the emergency unit kept trying to get the doctor but kept on saying he could not reach the doctor because his number was switched off. This is so bad.
“We all know the health workers are on strike and doctors are meant to be available 24 hours at the emergency unit, unfortunately this is not the case. I had to advise the relatives to take the man to a private hospital and not mind the cost since the treatment they seek at Askoro is not forthcoming,” he said.
It is expected that medical doctors will be on ground to cushion the effect of the strike.
Abubakar, who was eventually attended to around 10.35am at the GOPD (General Outpatients Department) said that two doctors later came in, one around 9.15am while the other resumed around 9.20am.
“Only two doctors are around in the consultation rooms. There are eight consultation rooms where there should be two doctors each, unfortunately only two people are on duty as I speak. This is unfair, doctors should always be on ground in the hospital, they come in anytime they like.
“The minister health should resign if he can’t find a lasting solution to the problem in the health sector. The minister of health and FCT needs to be doing a period unannounced invitations to most of the hospitals. That is the only way they can get this hospitals running effectively," he said.
However, a doctor was, overheard telling one of the patients that treatment of patients under the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) has been suspended until after the strike. He said if any such patient was to be attended to, she would have to go pay N600 to register and come back with the receipt to see the doctor.
The doctor explained that when the strike started, they were attending to NHIS patients, but “there is now a new directive from the management that they should suspend such till after the strike”.
While observing activities at the hospital, a staffer who asked not to be mentioned said: "Things are really bad. The government needs to get things going. There have been lots of cases that have been referred to other hospitals, mostly private. Most of the doctors you see around do not come in until 8.30 a.m. and by 12 p.m., most of them are gone. This is very common with the senior doctors. It is only some of the junior doctors that manage to stay around.”
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However, the ante-natal section was, active, while officials at the radiology unit said they were only doing scan and not any other imaging which might include x-rays.
Another staffer who pleaded not to be mentioned because he is a health worker said many patients are being referred to other hospitals, mostly private.
“The doctors are using this opportunity to enrich themselves especially those that have hospitals. They now refer patients to their hospitals or those of their superiors. Go to the ante-natal section that is working, you will see fliers of various public hospitals on the doctors’ tables and some calendars of public hospitals hanged on the wall. This is not right," the staff said.
In a previous report by NAIJ.com, the Joint Health Sector Union (JOHESU) called on President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately sack the minister of health, Professor Isaac Adewole, for what it described as “unfair treatment” over their plight.
The union made this call after it rose from it’s northeast zonal consultative forum meeting held in Gombe on Wednesday, May 23.
Nigerian Tribune also reports that Comrade Oluwatoyin Obesesan, national general secretary of the Allied Health Professionals, who is one of the national leaders of JOHESU, accused the minister of being bias.
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