By Fatima Mohammed-Lawal
Ilorin, Aug. 19, 2020 Many patients were turned back at the premises of the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital(UITH) on Wednesday as the strike by health workers of the institution began to take its toll on health services.
A correspondent who visited the hospital, reports that other than medical doctors, virtually all health workers were absent at their duty posts while critical units and laboratories remained under lock.
Although the Accident and Emergency Ward as well as other wards were open, only doctors were sighted attending to a few patients while many, especially those visiting the facility for the first time, were told to seek medical attention elsewhere in the metropolis.
Speaking with NAN, Mallam Isiaka Ahmadu, a father of a patient, said he was unaware of the strike having travelled to Ilorin from Kanbi town.
Ahmadu, who expressed disappointment at the development, said he was directed to return after the industrial action.
Another patient, Asiata Suleiman, claimed she was sent back by some doctors on duty.
She appealed to the management of the hospital to respond positively to the grievances of the health workers.
Suleiman observed that lives were at stake, adding that many may die as a result of the development in the hospital.
NAN reports that the Chairman of the Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU) of the institution, Mr Olutunde Oluwunmi, had on Tuesday announced the commencement of the strike after meeting with members.
He said the workers were forced to embark on the seven-day warning strike because their demands had not been met.
The JOHESU chairman added that their demands included the non-payment of promotion arrears for 2009, 2011, 2018 and 2019; denial of promotion of members as well as arbitrary deductions from salaries.
“Drugs are out of stock in the hospital’s National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) for patients and laboratories supplies are given to non-experts while there is also poor staff welfare.
” Facilities such as car loan and furniture loan among others are not available,” he said.
Speaking with NAN, Dr Muhammad Adeboye, the Chairman of the Medical and Dental Consultants Association of Nigeria (MDCAN), UITH Chapter, however, said its members were attending to patients.
He said the consultants were not on strike as patients who encountered the striking health workers may assume that they were also participating in the industrial action.
Mrs Olabisi Ajiboye, the Head of Corporate Affairs at UITH, told NAN that the hospital’s management was on top of the situation and would resolve the matter amicably.
NAN reports that JOHESU members are drawn from the five registered associations which included the Senior Staff Association of Universities, Teaching Hospitals, Research Institutes and Associated Institutes (SSAUTHRAI).
Others are Nigerian Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives (NANNM), the Non Academic Staff Unions (NASU), Medical and Health Workers Union of Nigeria (MHWUN), and the Nigerian Union of Allied Health Workers (NUAHW).