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‘No Medical Personnel To Attend To My Injured Leg’ – Patients Speak On Impact Of Labour Strike On Healthcare Services

The Kubwa General Hospital in the Federal Capital Territory was on Tuesday found deserted following the strike action embarked upon by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) embarked on Monday.

Labour had embarked on the strike after negotiations with the federal government on a new minimum wage met a brick wall.

THE WHISTLER visited the hospital and found the once busy facility empty with just a few people walking around the hospital premises.

One of the security personnel who spoke to THE WHISTLER stated that it was only a doctor who was on ground to man the Accident and Emergency ward.

“You can try your luck and see if he will attend to you,” he told the reporter after she informed him that she needed to see a doctor.

One of the staff members of the hospital who spoke to THE WHISTLER on anonymity, stated that the strike grounded all activities in the hospital, adding that the doctors were not attending to any patient.

“They were around yesterday but today they chose to stay away. They also discharged patients who were ready to go home. The other patients you see now are those who are not yet ready to be discharged,” he said.

The source who works in the Laboratory section of the hospital stated that they could not work even if they wanted to because there was no electricity in the hospital.

“They took the light since yesterday. In my department, we need electricity to work. So, since there is none, we had to close shop,” he said.

One of the patients at the female surgical section who spoke to the WHISTLER stated that since the strike action started, the nurses who were to attend to her were absent from work.

“I did surgery on my leg and it needs dressing but there has been no nurse to attend to the leg since yesterday. I just pray this will be over soon,” she said.

Also, THE WHISTLER visited the federal medical Centre to observe the impact of the organized labour strike by the leadership of Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC)

During the visit, our correspondent who went to the
Department of family medicine where the adult pharmacy unit, information unit , laboratory and the observation room amongst others are located, observed that activities at the hospital were normal with full services from the doctors, nurses and the staff members.

Also at the pediatric ward, it was observed that children were well attended to as nurses were seen walking in and out of the ward to either administer drugs or intravenous fluid (drip) to the sick children.

At the emergency unit, accident patients were seen being moved with the hospital bed for further checks, while some others were moved on wheelchair back to the ward.

However, some patients and their family members were seen collecting drugs which they had paid for at the adult pharmacy unit.

Despite the strike, which lasted for more than 24 hours, a pregnant woman who spoke to THE WHISTLER lauded the effort of the workers in attending to patients.

She said, “I was attended to very well, I came for check up. Strike or no strike, the doctors and nurses always do their job. I like how they treat patients with care and love.”

At the Nyanya General Hospital, the facility with a large patient base from the Karu, Nyanya, and Mararaba areas of Nasarawa and Abuja experienced few number of patients.

There were few patients at the General Outpatient Department which plays a vital role in screening patients, but the accident and emergency ward on the same block was accessible to staff members, with no patient on-site.

At the Antenatal Clinic, which houses delivery, surgical, paediatric, and pharmaceutical rooms, amongst others, our correspondent noticed the presence of some pregnant women, although the pediatric section was deserted.

An expectant mother who spoke to THE WHISTLER on the condition of anonymity said, “We came for anti-natal as early as 6 am so we can get numbers and see the doctors on time. When I got here, I met some pregnant women although our numbers were small compared to what they used to be. Before the numbers could be 100, other times above 150, but today we were not up to 40.

“When I came by 7am as I was unsure if they would attend to us, I met some pregnant women and we were told that we wouldn’t be attended to as the hospital was on strike. Some of the women left, but I was too tired to go home as I don’t reside in Nyanya, but mararaba.

“As they saw us sitting at the usual anti-natal spot after being asked to go, a senior doctor immediately did a head count of us and asked that we were attended to. Altogether we were not up to 20. I was surprised they attended to me.”

The joint leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress(TUC) on Tuesday called off the nationwide strike.

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