Following the recent outbreak of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Nigerian Health Institutions Chairmen Forum (NHICF) has appealed to the Joint Health Sector Unions and Assembly of Healthcare Professionals, JOHESU, to suspend its ongoing strike and return to work, as all hands were needed to keep the disease at bay. According to the chairman, NHICF, Sam Jaja, the lives of millions of poor Nigerians were at stake and a good number of patients were suffering as a result of the absence of health workers in public hospitals.
A statement made available to newsmen by the Secretary/Liaison Officer NHICF, Dr. Saidu Dumbulwa, quoted Jaja as saying that the key objective of medical personnel in the hospitals’ settings was to render healthcare services to patients, rather than resorting to an industrial action without first, making their grievances known to the NHICF.
Appreciating the rights of workers to ventilate their grievances, Jaja, however, lamented that the current dispute, which was almost one month old, was ill-timed and has ultimately affected patients and the on-going infrastructural development in the health sector.
“JOHESU’s call on their members at the states and local government areas to join the strike would further compound the situation, hence the appeal to give room for resolution particularly as the recent return of Ebola in the DRC would require the full corporation of all health professionals to keep the disease at bay.
“Hence, the need to suspend the ongoing strike and return to work while negotiations continue with the Federal Government with the hope to bringing a lasting solution to their demands without loss to human lives. “JOHESU did not put into account the fact that President Muhammadu Buhari had recently appointed governing Boards of various health institutions.
Thus, JOHESU ought to have tabled their grievances at the Nigerian Health Institutions Chairmen Forum for possible consideration instead of embarking on the current strike. “Instead of always embarking on strike at the slightest opportunity, JOHESU should explore all avenues of dialogue in addressing their grievances. “There is no gainsaying that many patients in Nigerian Hospitals come from poor family backgrounds and the JOHESU strike is having negative effects on them because they cannot afford private hospital bills,” he said.
While calling on JOHESU to live up to their expectation by being a responsive and responsible association in accordance with the ethics of the health profession which members swore to uphold, he notes that, “we must therefore work together in the spirit of inclusiveness to save the lives of our people.”
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